Thursday, May 31, 2012

History, Over & Over Again

How many times have you been told “history repeats itself” or been reminded of this paraphrase of a famous quote by Edmund Burke: “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”? No matter how many times we hear these wise words we just continue on. “Yeah, yeah…”, we say and go on as normal with all of our thought bent on our future with barely a glance in the rear view mirror. Yet today, more than virtually any other time in the past century, history is more relevant and has more to say about our future than ever before.

The last of the World War One generation passed away some time ago and we are rapidly losing the World War Two generation. If you are fortunate enough to know someone who was a young adult in that era then ask them about the times leading up to the outbreak of war. You will be frightened by the similarity to what is going on in the world today before our very eyes. History is indeed repeating itself.

In the 1930’s, a decade prior to the outbreak of war in Europe, the West was in conflict. It was the height of the depression on both continents, Europe and America. Civil war and political strife rocked the stability of several key countries. Germany, Spain and Italy were the three Western countries whose political crisis’ would most impact history. All three countries experienced both economic failure and political unrest resulting in fascist dictatorships. By looking at the events in each country that lead to war we can, perhaps, gain some insight into our own future.

 (Please note: I am using just a few paragraphs to describe several decades of history. I simply hope to give the reader a feel for the times and events that took place in those countries at that crucial time in history.)

After WWI, Germany was left in dire straights. Hyperinflation and the printing of money to pay its debts threw the country into economic turmoil. To pay down its debt and put a halt to inflation the Dawes Plan was implemented. The Dawes Plan simply replaced one debt with another by refinancing German debt through American banks.

With the onset of the Great Depression and the withdrawal of money by the American banks, Germany was hit by a wave of economic crises. Unemployment surged to record levels and would not respond to conventional economic measures. Radical socialists controlling the government were powerless to respond to the economic crisis. The government then embraced a conservative, small government platform knowing that things would get worse before they got better. Unwilling to wait for an economic come back, reeling from strikes and anarchist violence and desperate for change, the people turned to the National Socialists Party otherwise known as the Nazi’s.

After WWI the monarchy in Spain was in turmoil. Twice the seat of power switched from one House to another. For a brief time there was a republican style government however this was short lived as power was soon returned to the original monarchy. This government was completely corrupt and the people were oppressed to the point of revolt.

After a period of turmoil and strife another Spanish Republic emerged that was, in many ways, similar to our own Republican form of government. Over the next several years, however, Spain would destabilize and dissolve into civil war. During that period the Spanish Government would establish separation of church and state, massively centralize the government, expand the military, nationalize wealth and embrace radical socialism and communism.

The economic burden on the poor and middle class combined with the fascist policies of the Republic resulted in great social unrest. As resentment and resistance to the Republic grew, the government armed socialist and communist militias to act as private assault brigades to counter violent anarchist groups running rampant through the streets. Civil war ensued.

A military coup inevitably brought down the government resulting in a nationalist dictatorship. Both Germany and Italy intervened in the Spanish civil war, supporting the Nationalists and though it must be noted that Spain never actively participated in WWII, Spain’s monarch, Francisco Franco, openly supported Germany and Italy throughout the war.

WWI brought with it a feeling of betrayal for the Italian people as territories that had been promised in the Treaty of Versailles were not delivered. This resulted in a strong surge in Italian Nationalism, a movement that was growing in power in Italy. The war also brought an inflated economy burgeoning with debt and unemployment as well as social unrest, strikes, rioting, socialist and communist insurrections and anarchy.

When the Italian Liberal Party could not control Italy it opened the door for the strongly nationalist Revolutionary Fascist Party to take over. When Benito Mussolini came into power his government immediately financed numerous banks and industries including the media. His fascist regime strictly controlled the media and it became a propaganda arm of the government. Rights were restricted. With the onset of the Great Depression Italy became isolationist, nationalizing industries and growing its military. Propaganda was rampant and human rights nonexistent.

All three countries experienced a drawn out conflict that resulted in a dissatisfied pubic and burgeoning national debt. As their respective economies stalled civil unrest grew. The battle between Democratic, Socialist and Anarchist movements within each country resulted in the growth of a powerful Nationalist response. The monarchist/centralized government of each coupled with a populace that was desperate for any change from their bleak existence opened the door for radical elements to seize power.

Now, look at the headlines of today. In the US, we find ourselves in much the same situation as that of Europe seventy years ago. We are trying to extricate ourselves from years of protracted war in Iraq and Afghanistan. As we print worthless paper to cover our debts our economy is in pieces and likely to worsen with the European economic crisis. Europe is rocked with protests and civil unrest. As a response to austerity measures in an effort to shore up European economies, radical socialist and anarchist groups are growing in influence and popularity. The United States has seen the growth of large anarchist/socialist-communist groups such as the Occupy movement.

People are desperate for change much as they were in Germany, Spain and Italy immediately prior to WWII. While we are not yet in the dire straights those countries experienced, the day is not far off when we will face economic and social challenges that meet or surpass anything experienced in the thirties and forties. What will happen then? Will social unrest and the conflict between leftwing and rightwing groups propel the West into civil war? Will our respective governments resort to martial law and restriction of civil rights to maintain order? 

No party, left or right is beyond the implementation of fascist like measures to maintain control. Look how quickly our own government resorts to fascism in the face of common political opposition. See how quickly they seek to stifle discourse from opposing political parties. In 2008, the Obama administration attempted to bully networks into not airing a NRA add that was anti-Obama. They have also tried to intimidate private citizens and media personalities who have spoken out against them. The Fairness Doctrine is a perfect example limits to which politicians will go in order to squelch the voice of the opposition.

The bible says that the entire world will experience turmoil of epic proportions. There will be wars, earthquakes and disease on a global scale. We are seeing the beginning of these even today, the ‘beginning of sorrows’ as described in Matthew, Chapter 24. The bible also describes these times in Second Timothy, Chapter 3. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Does any of that sound familiar? To me it describes the very society in which we live. History shows us over and over again that economic and social unrest coupled with a significant crisis will result in the acquiescence by the populace to any response, no matter how extreme, that appears to restore order and bring prosperity. People who at one time would never entertain the thought of being governed by a dictator will, in desperate times, look to anyone who offers to save them from their adversities.

In time such a one will come forth. As the world economy implodes and war, famine and disease sweep across the globe people will be desperate for deliverance from their suffering. Just as with Germany, Spain and Italy, the populace will be distressed and demoralized to the point of relinquishing their rights to a strong and charismatic leader who seems able to deliver them. No matter how extreme his measures might have seemed previously, under duress he will appear a savior. He will promise to bring back stability and prosperity. Under the guise of compassion and establishing stability he will become the ruler of the world, a global dictator. His name is Anti-Christ. He is real and he will, very soon, make his appearance.

If you do not choose to believe the Bible, if the archaeological evidence and the  hundreds of fulfilled prophecies do not convince you and yet, you happen to survive to see people vanish off of the earth and world government come under the power of a single man of great power and charisma, please, oh please do me one favor. Under no circumstances, even those of torture and death, take his mark on your body.

Rev 14:9  And a third angel followed them, saying with a great voice, If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark in his forehead or in his hand,
Rev 14:10  he also will drink of the wine of the anger of God, having been mixed undiluted in the cup of His wrath. And he will be tormented by fire and brimstone before the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.
Rev 14:11  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. And they have no rest day or night, those who worship the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.

If you live to see this day then your only hope will be to receive Jesus Christ as your savior and endure to the end. I pity you that last experience. Salvation is at hand though, for those who receive Jesus as savior before these times come to pass. If you have read this far you must at least have some ‘gut feeling’ that these things are true and history is indeed repeating itself, for the last time. If so, please, I beseech you, find a bible and read the book of John in the new testament. Seek out a solid bible based church in your area, a church that teaches directly from the bible. Talk to the people there and please consider with all of your heart, asking Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior. Every moment you wait could be your last to escape the coming tribulation.

In love, I wish you all God’s Grace and Peace.

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