“Don’t weep for the dead; weep for the living” – Jeremiah

statue of Andrew Jackson being pulled down

“THE Lord used more ink on the trials of Job than the glories of Solomon,” someone said.

IN OTHER WORDS, we need to understand why we are living at such a time as this, why things happen, or, what’s the root cause of all the grief. Joe Biden is a symptom, not the original sin. I hate to be the one to point out the obvious, but there are some challenging times ahead of us. Ignorance of the near future is the worst ignorance of all. In 1860, the Rebs down south overran their headlights because the future was unknown to them. They actually began the great Rebellion while Buchanan was President.

Someone said, “The further you can see into the past, the further you can see into the future.” History doesn’t repeat like a mirror image, but nothing that does happen should ever take people by surprise.

I read a book, a very interesting one, about pre-Civil War America and the 1860 census. The author is a family medical doctor of whose practice I have been a patient. The book:

“Accounting For the Civil War; not your typical United States history book; see the past as rarely seen” by Dr. Vernette Carlson, Stephenson, MI (Moonshine Cove pub.; 2012)

“A fascinating account of the American Civil War that uses a broad array of census data and other primary sources as a launching point.”-David Voelker, PhD, Professor of History , University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. After so many books have been written about the civil war, is there anything new left to say? Indeed there is as author Vernette Carlson proves in her new book. She provides a unique look at the critical antebellum and civil war years that is both original and fascinating. Using census data and other primary sources as her launch point, she examines the human, economic and resource factors that are so important in determining the outcome of a war . . . Was the outcome foreseen? Would the outcome have been different if the war had started in 1850 instead of 1860? Did immigration tip the balance of power between north and south? What effect did western expansion have on the war? The reader will learn the answers to these questions . . ” – Amazon.com

The gist of the book is that the North, the Union, had most of the military age manpower, most of the iron, and most of the lead. And I might add, the South never made a bigger mistake than trying to force slavery on Kansas through fraudulent means.

This column isn’t about the Civil War, but about 2022 looking ahead. This is an adaptation of my 9/01/2017 column – about the time today’s “Rebs” began tearing down statues, and Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville got covered up (what? haven’t you ever seen a naked horse before?).

Lee made some serious mistakes in his life, but at least he knew when to repent and concede. The post-Gettysburg years could have been much worse, but that’s another day’s story (I speak as a “senior citizen). When Longfellow was up in years, a friend asked how he kept so lively and kept writing so well. Pointing to an apple tree, he replied:

“That apple tree is very old. But I never saw any prettier blossoms. The tree grows a little new wood every year, and it’s out of that new wood that those blossoms come.

Like the apple tree, I try to grow a little new wood every year.”

The question is: are today’s young “Rebs” learning anything new since getting out of high school or college? Do they cling to their college opinions, as Thomas Jefferson warned most people do? How far into the past can they really see CLEARLY? Do they have any clue as to what awaits them up ahead? God have mercy!

PS: To paraphrase a poem from the 1960s:

“The mild idealists who start our social revolutions don’t realize that when the executions start, the first ones on the list are the Mild Idealists.”

Take the French Revolution. PLEASE! Forty thousand “enemies of the Idealists” had their heads chopped off in Paris alone. The brains of anyone who was anyone (businessmen, farmers, clergymen) were thus lost in blood that flowed ankle-deep to nearly knee-deep in Paris. NO WONDER Germany had such an easy time conquering Paris twice in the 20th century. The Radicals of “Liberty, equality, fraternity” massacred as many as 300,000 of their own people in northwest France.

They started out by killing the king. Conditions didn’t improve. They killed the rest of the royals. When things didn’t improve, they closed the churches and killed priests and nuns. And all the other “scapegoats.” Finally, the most-radical-of-them-all, Robespierre himself, ended upon the guillotine.

PPS: We have our own “Jacobins” now. Is it too late to stand athwart history and yell “STOP!”??

Picture credit: Wall Street Journal

Curtis Dahlgren

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About the Author

Curtis Dahlgren
Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in the frozen tundra of Michigan's U.P., and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton. In the intro to The Fenton Bible, Fenton said: ​"I was in '53 a young student in a course of education for an entirely literary career, but with a wider basis of study than is usual. . . . In commerce my life has been passed. . . . Indeed, I hold my commercial experience to have been my most important field of education, divinely prepared to fit me to be a competent translator of the Bible, for it taught me what men are and upon what motives they act, and by what influences they are controlled. Had I, on the other hand, lived the life of a Collegiate Professor, shut up in the narrow walls of a library, I consider that I should have had my knowledge of mankind so confined to glancing through a 'peep-hole' as to make me totally unfit for [my life's work]." ​In 1971-72 Curtis did some writing for the Badger Herald and he is listed as a University of Wisconsin-Madison "alumnus" (loosely speaking, along with a few other drop-outs including John Muir, Charles Lindbergh, Frank Lloyd Wright and Dick Cheney). [He writes humor, too.]