Every time I read the phrase, “Historians will look back at this time and say…” I have to sigh. Some of the trends currently complicating our lives may not leave anyone to read or write history if they continue; and in any case, historians must be published to be read, and to be published they must write what flatters the prejudices of their day. I’ve given up on looking for a history published by an academician that considers on-the-ground facts in the South prior to the Civil War. Even Marc Engels’ Clash of Extremes, recommended by a professor whose judgment I thoroughly trust, edges tentatively into the proposition that the war wasn’t primarily about slavery by reviewing speeches made in Congress and writings left by congressmen.
What about the fact that guerrilla leader John Mosby, perhaps the Confederate most wanted by the Union at a certain stage of the war, was smuggled to safety by two unsupervised slaves after being badly wounded—this with federal lines mere miles away, a reward on his head, and freedom a very likely bonus for his delivery?
In the same way, we never discuss why the western Ukrainians—you know, the ones in whose behalf we’re supposed to inaugurate World War III—sided with Hitler so as to oppose Stalin. Uncle Joe is always presented as the lesser of two evils, though comparative body counts leave that a very dubious proposition. Naturally, Winston Churchill couldn’t possibly have made such a miscalculation! Naturally, when Churchill, coming away from the Yalta Conference, wrote that we had to “appease” Stalin, no tasteful historian would juxtapose his diction with Neville Chamberlain’s.
Okay… so the past belongs to Hollywood’s film library. Sad, but perhaps inevitable. I look into the future—that terrain about whose character future “historians” are to declare the truth retrospectively. More and more, I’m dazzled by the number of wild cards in the deck. The future. Who could possibly come anywhere close to predicting it, especially in these days of technology-fueled trends that continually shift the goalposts of possibility? In so many ways, I sense that we’re headed straight into an abyss—an interconnected, almost labyrinthine series of abysses, such that we steer into the one on the left if we miss the one on the right.
But not all the wild cards bear the image of the Grim Reaper. Take China. The PRC has been a force for pure evil since before my lifetime. The Communist elite was behind Korea, behind Vietnam… now it’s saber-rattling around Japan and India, having already swallowed up Tibet and Hong-Kong, and simultaneously suckering African nations into surrendering the reins of power with “generous” loans. (Of course, one of the chapters in our inerrant college history book tells us that Truman was absolutely right to dismiss that arrogant, insufferable bastard MacArthur, who would have deposed Mao and delivered China to Chiang kai-Shek.)
The Chinese elite is aging, however. They’re human. They must die, and fairly soon. The Chinese people are fed up with them, even though a system has been engineered to ensure a continued habit of servility and sycophancy among the masses. (The system’s effectiveness at deep programming explains, I suppose, why so many Chinese who escape to the US persist in voting for intrusive government.) How many more generations of despotism can be sustained? Leftists view human beings as blank slates, capable of infinite “education” and devoid of any fundamental moral beacon. The rest of us know better. How far into the future can the PRC spread its evil across this planet before Chinese of the rank and file demand an end to it?
What goes through Xi Jinping’s head? We know (or suppose we know) that he doesn’t believe in any reality beyond this world’s. What, then, does he hope to get from this world which will balance the evil he has introduced and is introducing into it? He’s already an old man. How many years does he expect to enjoy power—and how can he enjoy it when so many rivals must surely surround him? How does it all end?
Or take our illegal immigration crisis. California is our window into the future. Imagine large cities across the country overrun with people who don’t speak the mainstream language, demand that our extravagant public subsidies be paid out, have no high-tech employment skills, are promised yet more handouts by the candidates of the statist party, sometimes serve as conduits (willing or otherwise) for gang activity, have no political tradition of self-determination (like the Chinese), and have lost their ancestors’ knowledge of working the land productively. How does this end?
At some point, and sooner rather than later, we run out of money. Won’t our “guests” beat a retreat as they see that day looming? How many of them will sicken of the gangs in their midst and resort to the vigilantism for which a corrupt Mexican system always punished their fathers brutally? As parts of urbanized Europe have become “no go” zones ruled by Sharia law, will we see large tracts of our nation breaking into self-policed islands of relative stability? What will be the central government’s response to this balkanization? Will it be favored and exploited as the stepping stone to some quasi-imperial central power structure (a.k.a. “divide and rule”)—or will we see, with the emergence of a permanent oligarchy, the creation of a national police force (lovingly imagined by Barack Obama during his original candidacy for president) that cruises our streets with 50-caliber machine guns mounted on Humvees?
And, at that point, will the state grow ever more autocratic… or, in light of its depleted and over-stretched resources, will the central authority lend a tolerant ear to talk of a looser national confederacy?
There’s an old Highland saying: Feigh ar a dheiradh—“Wait for its end.” Who knows how a game of draw-poker played with twenty-six wild cards finishes? Both worse and better than we can imagine, most likely.