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Parallel, Not Repeats

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This summer, I wanted to re-read Ernest Hemingway.  When I was in high school, I was on a short road trip with my friend Sam.  In his English class at his high school, they were reading The Sun Also Rises.  I had heard of Hemingway at that point but never had read him.  Thankfully my junior year I was exposed to a very healthy dose of classical literature courtesy of Ms. Millies.

I have been reading “The Complete Short Stories” and will re-read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” when I am done with the short stories.  I just have finished Hemingway’s series of stories that deal with the Spanish Civil War.  It’s not impossible to appreciate them without knowing the history of that war, but it helps.

I don’t have a huge basket of knowledge of the Spanish Civil War.  I started to look some things up to see why it happened, and how it started.  I also look for critiques of the story to see what the experts are thinking.  In one story, “Under the Ridge”, the critiques all said that Hemingway was writing about the uselessness of war.  I am not sure that was the overriding theme.  He used war as a backdrop, but I think he really was writing about his dissatisfaction with communism.  The leaders of the communist side assassinated two people in the story and “Russians” were hated.

Communists and socialists should be hated.  There is no room for them in the human experience.  There is no free-market socialism or free-market communism or “socialist light”.  It’s a soul-sucking ideology that enriches a small elite class at the expense of everyone else.

I like to say, history doesn’t repeat exactly but it rhymes or it’s at least sort of parallel.  Of course, that’s how virtually everyone we disagree with today gets boiled down to being compared with a Nazi, which is clearly wrong.  However, we are all human and humans have proclivities that ebb and flow throughout human history.

The US today is trodding in the same territory that Spain traveled in back in the ’30s.   The players are different and the terminology is different but some of the ideas and themes are similar.  We need to be careful.  But, idealogues looking to force their subjects aren’t careful.  Religions aren’t careful.  Zealots aren’t careful.

It was a war fought between World War 1, and World War 2, with the backdrop of a worldwide Depression.

One interesting thing that is worth pondering about the Spanish Civil War is the involvement of the worldwide communists in the war.  The “Republicans” in Spain were communists.  The Soviet Union and Mexico backed them.  Communists came from all over the world to fight the “Nationalists”, which were backed by Hitler and Mussolini.  Hiter and Mussolini shrewdly backed Franco because they hated communists, and Hitler needed Spain to be a neutral and willing partner when he started his conquest.  If a Civil War ever broke out in the United States between a socialist/communist faction and another faction, you can bet your bottom dollar communists from all over the world would flood in with bodies, money, and material to win.

There were no angels in the Spanish Civil War.  Neither side was fighting for an “independent” Republic or individual freedom in the same way the Revolution or the Civil War in the US was fought.  No matter which side won, the average common person in Spain was screwed.

Franco and the Nationalists won.  He could not have done it without support.  The Catholic Church was also behind Franco since the communists would have killed the church.  Spain is still reeling from the effects of that war almost 100 years later.  You can tour Spain and still see the unrepaired scars of war.  It would have been worse had the communists won.  We are seeing that today in Cuba.  62 years of communism has crushed people.  Cuba is in worse shape today than it was in 1960.

Communism and socialism have never worked anywhere ever.  If it’s such a great system, why aren’t people emigrating to China? North Korea?  Cuba?  Venezuela?  The larger government gets, and the more it spends, the more it taxes and regulates, the more vulnerable any government gets closer to being taken over by leftists.

Other countries have immigration problems due to social fabrics breaking down in their country.  Southern Italy comes to mind as immigrants flee North Africa for anything different.  But, it’s only the United States which has become a gigantic magnet for people.  It’s worth asking the question, “Why?”.

The post Parallel, Not Repeats first appeared on Points and Figures.


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