The Past, Present and the Future
“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from the everlasting to everlasting… The past, he reflected, had not merely been altered, it had been actually destroyed.”
- George Orwell,1984.
When Heritage and History Fall Victim to the Blindness of Religion
Radical Islamists are striving to not only control Muslim countries, but also their history. Actually, Islamists are trying to destroy their non-Islamic past. Pre-911, the Taliban made news when they destroyed the giant statues of Buddha that were carved into the side of a cliff. More recently, the Salafists in Egypt said that the faces of Egyptian pharaonic statues should be covered in wax. Just a few days ago, militant islamists in Mali destroyed temples that were recently named as a world heritage site.
“Salafi group reaffirms call to set Egypt’s Pharaonic relics in wax,” Sarah Sheffer, Bikyamasr.com.
“The spokesperson for the Salifist Call, Abdel-Men’em Shahat, has reaffirmed and defended a call for covering Egypt’s treasured Pharaonic relics with wax, claiming that they resemble false idols.
In comments to al-Rai al-Aam newspaper, he reaffirmed his call for “covering the faces of the Egyptian Pharaonic statues with wax because they resembled the idols that were present in Mecca… We do not want to scare the Egyptians. We want to implement Islamic Sharia as ordered by God Almighty.”
”Why the Taliban are destroying Buddhas,” W.L. Rathje, USAToday.com.
“In Afghanistan recently, supreme Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar issued an edict against un-Islamic graven images, which means all idolatrous images of humans and animals. As a result, the Taliban are destroying all ancient sculptures. Explosives, tanks, and anti-aircraft weapons blew apart two colossal images of the Buddha in Bamiyan Province, 230 kilometers (150 miles) from the capital of Kabul… The world community — from Russia to Malaysia, Germany to Sri Lanka, and, of course, UNESCO — has expressed horror at the Buddhas’ destruction. Many Mullahs in Islamic countries condemned Mullah Omar’s interpretation as wrong-headed and damaging to the image of Islam.”
“UNESCO laments ‘tragic’ destruction of Timbuktu shrines,” ArabNews.com.
“The UN cultural agency UNESCO on Saturday deplored the “tragic” destruction by Mali fundamentalists of shrines in the city of Timbuktu that were listed as world heritage just days earlier… “Ansar Dine will today destroy every mausoleum in the city. All of them, without exception,” spokesman Sanda Ould Boumama told AFP through an interpreter from the city. He added: “God is unique. All of this is haram (or forbidden in Islam). We are all Muslims. UNESCO is what?“
Politicians have always used history to promote and justify themselves and their agendas, and to manipulate and control people. Now, history is being destroyed for the same reason.
*The title and two of the articles were taken from a series of tweets by @BobNaja.
Footnotes From History
I’ve been reading Civil War: St. Louis by Louis Gerteis. Early in the book he provides some background information to set the stage for the conflict. He writes about the influence of Jacksonian populism upon the first Missouri constitution (1820).
The Missouri constitution “held stockholders personally liable for the debts of the corporations in which they were invested. The constitution also forbade the incorporation of more than one bank in the state.”
This made me curious, so I read through the 1820 constitution, while I did not find anything about holding stockholders personally liable for the debt of corporations, it did contain an interesting section on banking.
Article 8 places some harsh restrictions upon banks. Only one bank is allowed in the state. That bank may not have more than five branches. The constitution even went as far to limit the size of banks in terms of how much capital they could raise, and required that the state be given control of half of the bank’s stock:
“The capital stock of the bank to be incorporated shall never exceed five millions of dollars at least one-half of which shall be reserved for the use of the state.”
Additionally, Missouri relied on a strict ‘hard money’ policy. As it turned out these draconian measures were too restrictive to allow the commercial sector to thrive, and merchants had to get by using a hodgepodge of currencies issued by other states (mainly Illinois). Eventually, the system collapsed in 1842 when the Bank of Illinois shutdown-it never recovered from the depression of 1837. One of the main causes the the bank’s trouble was the issuance of too much unbacked currency.
In an era of ‘too big to fail’ it may be worth resurrecting this notion of limiting the size of banks, however as history shows us, we should be careful of going too far.
Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is moderation.
Clarification on Problems Surrounding the Debt
Earlier today I shared a link to a blog post that I wrote about the national debt. This link was re-blogged (which I appreciate) by Noirworld who included some commentary that made me think that I was unclear. So I would like to take this opportunity to clarify.
First, the blog post that I shared was a follow up to a previous article that I wrote. Here are links to both articles: