There is a well-known maxim about history repeating itself. The lessons of history can be ignored but only at great peril. For example, if you have a family history of diabetes, and you're unfamiliar with your genetic predispositions toward that ailment, you may fail to take precautions. Some diseases are preventable if you take the right steps to reduce the risk.
Some wars are preventable. When the United States covertly sent weapons and stinger missiles to Afghan civilians to shoot down Russian helicopters, the Mujahadeen eagerly and bravely caused Russia to experience huge losses. Afghanistan became Russia's Viet Nam. But America abandoned their new allies on the ground, leaving militant Islamists an open door to come in and seize control. They turned the hearts and minds of the Afghan warlords away from hating Russians to hating Americans. We should have seen it coming. We knew better. That's why U.S. soldiers still fight in Afghanistan, after the Taliban launched the 9/11 attack against us.
Lessons from history should teach us that any country that tilts toward the left and embraces socialism is at risk of spiraling into "statism." This is especially true when the monopoly media controls all information. It screens what you can see, hear, or read. This keeps the citizens in the dark about the state of affairs. Such is the status in all communist countries. Under statism, the state controls education. America's home schooling may become forbidden, especially if the parents are conservatives or Christians. A crisis caused by a lawless faction can be an excuse to crack down on millions of peaceful believers who simply think differently about issues.
Under statism, individual independence (as well as personal responsibility along with opportunity) disappears. Instead a mindset of dependency on the central government develops - tell us what to believe, what to do, where to go, whether or not to wear masks, what kind of earnings you will receive. Freedom becomes limited. But the elite ruling class (i.e.- those at the top in government) seem to have amazing prosperity and ever-increasing power.
What happens when a nation forgets God? This topic is explored in a sobering book written by Erwin Lutzer, published by Moody. The book's subtitle is, "Seven lessons we must learn from Nazi Germany." Because history is not studied or is ignored, we Americans are at a disadvantage. Not only do most Americans know nothing about the founding of our nation and what Judeo-Christian beliefs made it great, they know next to nothing about the history of other nations that had a profound impact on the whole world.
Few people today can say why Hitler rose to power. This was despite a thriving Christian portion of the German population. Hitler became a national hero to Germany. At first, he was not viewed as an extremist. The people wanted him. The economy had tanked and the nation was in crisis. No one seemed to know what to do except Adolf Hitler. With the military's backing, he consolidated power. He led his nation into seizing wealth and warring on other nations. These were the days of Winston Churchill, concentration camps, and terror for Europe.
Hitler restored pride to the Germans; a reason to believe in themselves; an escape from despair. He revitalized their economy using fervent nationalism. Hitler's Germany started a war that killed 50 million people. Nazis exterminated eight million Jews. This was when America entered the war to re-supply England. Then we sent troops under Eisenhower and helped win the war. Beware any power that is not rooted in the fear of the Lord.
-- Ron Wood is a retired pastor and author. Contact him at [email protected] or visit www.touchedbygrace.org or follow him on Facebook @touchedbygracenwa. The opinions expressed are those of the author.