Lessons from History
Jim Jones hung a sign over his stage in Giuana that said "Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it."
"To study history means to search for and discover the forces that are the causes of those results which appear before our eyes as historical events. The art of reading and studying consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting what is not essential." Adolf Hitler
In both cases the "lesson from history" was controlled by cult leaders and the results were disastrous.
If rational people don't try to do a better job the next cult leader just might do it again!
If your going to learn from history it will help to remember trial and error principles that are often taken for granted. try accomplishing your goal two or more ways then choose the way that works best. for example: one day you may decide you want know if you can improve your day by banging your head against the wall. When it doesn't work you don't do it again. If that sounds stupid keep in mind its better than doing it again. Now consider past experiments with war. Society just keeps doing it over and over again. Not only is that stupid but it is insane.
When learning from history it will help if you take three step:
1. Recognize the problem exists. many problems are ignored until it is to late like insufficient flood control in New Orleans many experts knew it existed but the public ignored it until it was to late.
2. find the cause of the problems
3. correct the cause of the problems
Simple right then why doesn't Society solve most of it's problems??
Alright in some cases it is more complicated but not always much more complicated.
No matter what the subject it is important to educate the public about solutions. If the public doesn't understand these things they won't know how to avoid voting for politicians that are catering to narrow special interests.
Don't build cities in flood zones.
Watch out for demagogues that try to lead you into unnecissary wars.
Don't assume that we have a free press when the corporate media floods the market with trivial things and ignore more important things.
Get organized and do a better job explaining things to the public so they have access to the information they need to make intelligent decisions.
Pay attention to small conflicts before they get big and try to solve them without the military whenever possible.
The greatest tyrants were all abused children before they became monsters. They were condemned to hell before they committed their crimes. Stop child abuse and tyranny and crime will drop dramatically in the long run. This lesson will not prove itself as a quick fix but it will do much more good in the long run than just about anything else.
There have been many efforts to learn how to fight wars more effectively and win them. There have been efforts to learn how to convince the public to go along with the leaders more effectively. However there have not been enough efforts to teach the public about the lies politicians use to manipulate them and avoid being lead blindly into war. This should involve a much better education project.
President Bush has recently confided to us that "we have fought 204 wars of which only five were declared". Where is the organized list of these 204 wars? If people wanted to understand what causes wars a tedious study could be done on all the known wars in history. A serious of questions could be asked of each like what kind of government led each side? How did they convince the people to start comitting mass murder and why? etc. This would be a slow process so it would probably be easier for the researchers to start with a small number of wars set up a system and expand from there. Once this study is done then a summation could be written and an explanation as to how the study is organized so that those who want to check it can. Even just a list of all these wars would be enough to let people know haw obsessed people are with unnecessary conflict the human race is.
One of the reason The USA has been involved in wars is because our government has proped up Tyrants around the world. The Taliban, Sadam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, The Shah of Iran, Batista and more were all once allies of the USA. Either they turned on us or they were over thrown and the new government blamed the USA for propping up a Tyrant.
Refusing to communicate also makes it hard to avoid war. The assumption that simply because the government maintains an open line of communication with a Tyrant means that they approve of them is foolish.
A greater emphasis on peaceful relationships that include educational programs like peace corp. and Habitat for Humanity would help. When countries become desperate they are more likely to fight.
If the Government is serious about spreading democracy abroad they should start by improving it at home.
one of the core principles of democracy is freedom of the press. When the USA was established the press was controlled by a lot of modest property owners. Even then not every one had equal influence over the press. It was controlled by mainly white male property owners but they were all independent of each other so a variety of messages were expressed. In the past Twenty years or so the small media outlets were bought up by the big ones so now we have a small percentage of the public making decisions for the mass media. The internet provides a new tool for small press but it is badly organized and it is hard to find good trustworthy sources. What we need is more direct influence on the mass media from the public not just the government and the corporations. If a Government controlled Media is not considered democratic why should we consider a corporate controlled Media democratic?? Especially since the same corporations are financing and controlling the election process.
The Media could be used to do a better job teaching the public about the basics of every subject and more instead it is being used to pump out mass amounts of propaganda. Tyrants understand how important the media is much better than the public. Until the public realizes how important the media is we won't have a real democracy.
Another major improvement would be instant run off elections that give small parties a chance. the two party system is designed to keep small parties from competing. Instant run off elections would dramaticlly change that. If people don't want to waste their vote by voting for a fringe candidate they can do that with Instant run off elections; if there candidate is ruled out their second choice would be counted. Some have complained that this gives people multiple votes and is not fair. This is a false argument since only one vote is counted and everyone would use the same system. Then we would know how much support these third party candidates really have.
The public should also have more influence over the interview process. Instead of the candidates negotiating with each other and the media to decide how the campaign is run they should be required to answer directly to the public. This may not be easy but in order to succeed the first thing you have to do is try. I don't mean a token effort that will be bumbled so they can say that doesn't work we tried it. We need a sincere effort and if it doesn't work the first time try again.
Organizations like Vote smart.org could be a big help if the organization is controlled by the people.
Another thing that will provide a quick partial solution to pollution is a list of things you can do to conserve energy. You wouldn't need help from the corrupt politicians. You could do something right away while democracy is being reformed. In the past when I looked at environmental web sites they didn't do as good a job at this as they could have.