Easing back into it.
The title of this post is what I should have done when I decided to start blogging again. What I did instead was start plotting out a post that should probably be split into multiple posts, a project so ambitious that while scribbling notes over coffee this morning, two full weeks after deciding to do it, I finally realized just how much I had put on my plate. In hindsight, I should really have written several smaller posts first to get back into the swing of things.
In the meantime, here’s a video that really communicates the power of history. It’s not just a neat example of how historians try to make sense of events when it is impossible to know the full story, but it also has a verisimilitude to it that makes me think it should be part of the Star Wars canon. I can easily imagine exactly this being produced (within the fictional setting, that is) a few generations after the events of the movies.
I give you: The Galactic Civil War.
One of the podcasts that I listen to is Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, and more than once he’s made a point that I think is worth repeating: Someday in the future, there will be a serious book written by a serious historian that examines the positive outcomes of the Nazi regime.
His reasoning is pretty straightforward, this will happen because it’s happened already to countless other events. The one that sticks in my mind was Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire, which is often presented as having positive impacts on the world even though it was a time of terrible violence. There are references to a pile of bones so large that people approaching mistook it for a mountain, to entire cities wiped out down to the livestock, to thousands of women jumping to their deaths rather than face the violence the Horde was famous for. Many historians refer to the Khan as a unifying force, while ignoring or even minimizing the fact that this unification happened through rivers of blood.
Right now we’re still too close to World War II, there are still survivors of the holocaust and our cultural identity still feels the trauma of that event. Holocaust denial, Hitler presented sympathetically, and the war as a positive influence, or even an event that had some positive outcomes, are still ideas only found on the fringes of society. But already you can see them becoming more common. I think Carlin is absolutely right, that serious history book is coming, perhaps soon enough that I’ll be alive to read it.
The more we forget history, the more terrifying the future looks.