History is freedom

Brandon Smith notes the collectivist hatred for heritage and history:

A distaste or hatred of heritage is very common at the onset of any collectivist restructuring. These restructurings usually target principles of individual liberty and self governance while masquerading as a fight against oppression or corruption. The old principles are either presented as too outdated and insufficient to deal with the new problems of a culture, or, they are presented as the actual SOURCE of the problems of that culture. In either case, the elites wielding the collectivist machine inevitably call for a purge of all bygone ideals.

In Communist China, Mao instituted the Cultural Revolution, which encouraged the mindlessly mesmerized collectivists in the Chinese populace to destroy everything which represented the past. Artwork, buildings, historical artifacts, books; even teachers and proponents of any brand of pre-communist heritage were targeted.

In Fascist Germany, the Nazis destroyed countless books and manuscripts, rewrote German history, censored and removed thousands of artworks, instituting state designated artforms that depicted the collectivist vision of the new society.

In Russia, the Communists focused intently not only on liquidating manuscripts extolling the methods of different eras, but also the people who wrote them. Under Lenin and Stalin, the goal was to annihilate the memory of the world before, even if it meant annihilating the masses along with it.

A complete reformation of educational infrastructure came next. The children of the collectivist age had to be indoctrinated as if there had never been another way of doing things.

These purges, as numerous examples have shown, are only temporary. The great conundrum for the elites has not only been the obstacle of memory, but the obstacle of the soul; that inherent quality in human beings that compels us to pursue freedom, balance, and truth, regardless of the constraints of our environment. The documents and remnants of heritage that oligarchs seek to destroy are ultimately only expressions of our inborn consciences. Deep down in each person, no matter what they have been conditioned to believe, there is a well-spring of vital ideas that conflict with the mechanizations of collectivism. Individualism finds a way to surface, and so, the central rulers must start over once again, looking for an insurmountable method of control.

I’d never associated my love of history with my intellectual affinity for human liberty. I’d merely regarded history as a useful tool for potentially avoiding past mistakes. But it is true, the totalitarian thirst for eliminating and creatively rewriting history does tend to lend some credence to the idea that the knowledge of history is important, perhaps even integral to understanding and upholding human freedom. The goal of the totalitarian is always stasis, which involves not only destroying the future and turning it into a facsimile of the present, but the past as well.