Thursday, May 12, 2011

An Elephant Should Never Forget, Neither Should a Don Quixote

I will be going to Vienna this July and playing in the 13th Maccabi European Games as a member of the Men’s Masters Table Tennis Team, and have been reading Vienna and Its Jews, The Tragedy of Success, 1880-1980s.

On page 172 the author notes that Hitler addressed the Austrian Nazi party conference in 1920, spoke in several cities the next year to “the party faithful,” and in 1922, Hitler was the main speaker at the Party’s first major public rally in Vienna.

It’s My Party and I’ll Shout If I Want To

The main political parties were the Social Democrats whose ideology was basically Marxist, and the Christian Socials with its strong relationship with the Catholic Church. In late 1926 while setting their sights on the following year’s elections, the Christian Socials emphasized their opposition to Marxism and to the “predominance of the decomposing Jewish influence.”

As you may readily discern, these parties promulgated their opposing ideologies, much like America’s two major political parties do today.

The following paragraph found on page 177 is put forth here almost verbatim, only inserting any changed words in Italics including the substitution of “Congress” and “Congressional” for “Parliamentary” and “Parliament.”

Insert names here had both learned the arts of compromise and conciliation as party leaders but they nevertheless took a sacred view of their respective missions. Consequently, the two major parties confronted each other across a chasm that was both wide and deep. Congressional interchanges were marked with a minimum of courtesy and a maximum of acrimony. Personal insults including racial slurs were traded back and forth. One noted writer says the whole set up ‘emphasized division instead of debate, doctrine positions rather than weighing of concrete issues. Congress, then, instead of nursing a basic consensus, as it generally does in western democracies, emphasized the divisions in the country and contributed to the destruction of consensus.’”

2010 Is Dead and Gone, 2012 Is Now in Sight

Santayana is well known for his perceptive and sadly reaffirmed line, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In Volume I of his 1905-1906 five-volume “The Life of Reason,” Santayana offers that thought and another for ineffectual, conciliatory weaklings like Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Harry Reid, who will be serving his fourth consecutive two-year term as Senate Democratic Leader. The two parties seem to have no knowledge of or have forgotten to heed or understand Santayana’s other pronouncement, “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”

George Santayana, Philosopher, Essayist Poet. December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952

1 comment:

The Curate said...

Sometimes the Windmills we chase... end up chasing us