"Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it." So wrote the Irish philosopher Edmund Burke ( 1729 - 1797 ).
I'm reminded of this quote as I read Dr. Charles Krauthammer's excellent book, Things That Matter.
As I said once before, I don't often recommend books but you certainly should read this, setting aside any preconceived notions about ancestry or political leanings.
Just twelve words in one of Dr. Krauthammer's essays virtually leapt from the page and struck me like a mallet.
In his 1996 column about the great mathematician Paul Erdos, this sentence appears: "Hitler disposed of nearly all the rest of his Hungarian Jewish family."
Think about some of those twelve simple words: Hitler. Disposed. Nearly. All. Hungarian. Jewish. Family.
I think about Jewish friends and acquaintances I've had over the years who themselves or whose relatives lived through that horrible time; I think about some of my black friends who even today are treated as lesser persons simply because of skin color; then I think about some of the self-absorbed who are too busy with the cacophony of social media, among other things, to have any idea about actual history; whose entire concept of the past is shaped by historically inaccurate films, politically correct textbooks which omit or gloss over the truth, and some teachers who are not permitted to impart anything outside a carefully sanitized curriculum lest someone's sensibilities be offended.
Hitler's holocaust, Stalin's murderous regime, our own despicable travesty of slavery, and much more of ours and the world's history is often being treated as myth and lost to future generations.
Hitler, Stalin. Pol Pot. Idi Amin. Mao Tse Tung, the Caesars, the Crusades, et al.
They disposed of millions of men, women, and children some of whom might have been great leaders, musicians, scientists, teachers, might have cured cancer, might have changed the world - and if we don't teach our children well we might very soon descend into that stygian darkness again as our society continues to unravel.
Think it can't happen today?
Think North Korea, the Sudan, or pick any country afflicted by the homicidal mentality of Islamic radicalism. Think about our own DHS which has labeled Catholic priests and Christians in general as "extremist organizations". Our own administration in a country founded on freedom.
Twelve words, just twelve out of billions written by thousands.
But if you can discern their import and help ensure that the past is not forgotten in the confusion of today, then they may turn out to be twelve important words.
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom