I am always amazed how clear it becomes, from reading political history, that we have collectively forgotten lessons already learned (Disco will come back, I’m telling you!) so that new generations are bound to face the same challenges again.
The terminology in the passage below may seem a little odd to our current-day ears but the points made are chillingly relevant today to how our current Obama Administration conducts both our domestic and foreign policy.
FROM: Joseph Schumpeter in “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy,” 1942:
“Perhaps the most striking feature of the picture is the extent to which the bourgeoisie, besides educating its own enemies, allows itself in turn to be educated by them. It absorbs the slogans of current radicalism and seems quite willing to undergo a process of conversion to a creed hostile to its very existence. Haltingly and grudgingly it concedes in part the implications of that creed. This would be most astonishing & indeed very hard to explain were it not for the fact that the typical bourgeois is rapidly losing faith in his own creed. This is verified by the very characteristic manner in which particular capitalist interests and bourgeoisie as a whole behave when facing direct attack. They talk and plead—or hire people to do it for them; they snatch at every chance of compromise; they are ever ready to give in; they never put up a fight under the flag of their own ideals and interests—in this country [the U.S.] there was no real resistance anywhere against the imposition of crushing financial burdens during the last decade [the 1930s] or against labor legislation incompatible with the effective management of industry. . . .
Means of defense were not entirely lacking and history is full of examples of the success of small groups who, believing in their cause, were resolved to stand by their guns. The only explanation for the meekness we observe is that the bourgeois order no longer makes any sense to the bourgeoisie itself and that, when all is said and nothing is done, it does not really care.”
Or, perhaps History does actually repeat itself…because no one was listening the first time!