History is so Embarrassing

     One of Fidel Castro’s idiotic statements about “freedom” is the famous: “Within the revolution, everything; outside the revolution, nothing.”
     Fidel said this after he threw a bunch of writers in jail.
     Those damn writers, always writing this and that.
     Fidel surely would not have wanted anyone to point out that his statement came from a Fascist, Benito Mussolini, who said: “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”
     History can be so embarrassing.
     We don’t teach it very well in the United States. And we don’t learn it very well.
     Did we know anything about history, surely by now we would be discussing why it is that the so-called Tea Party has been allowed to sell its ideology as a sort of radical American “freedom,” though the Tea Party, by which I mean right-wing Republicans, by which I mean today’s Republican Party is, at its core, Stalinist.
     For instance:
     1. It decries, and creates, a perpetual “state of emergency” and blames it on alien nations or ideologies;
     2. while failing to have any true achievements of its own, in reality or ideology;
     3. When (1) and (2) become obvious, it turns upon its own leaders, calling them “traitors” and holding show trials for them, or in our case, primary elections;
     4. It accuses anyone who seeks workable compromise in the real world, anyone who challenges the Party orthodoxy, particularly in their own party, of “collaboration with the enemy;”
     5. It restricts and deforms science and medicine to make it conform to ideology;
     6. It claims to represent “the American people” (the masses) while dictating policy from a Central Committee (for example, national education policy in No Child Left Behind, while claiming to support local control of schools; opposing any tax increase anywhere, national or local, while claiming to support states’ rights);
     7. It foments war abroad in absence of real victories over anything, or any real “enemies” at home;
     8. And when history proves them wrong, or idiotic, they simply rewrite or suppress history (for instance, the recent Congressional Research Service report that found that taxing the wealthy does not reduce economic growth);
     9. They conduct this series of demented actions through a campaign of prolonged hysteria, with paranoid, apocalyptic rhetoric, appeals to patriotism and homeland security; and
     10. character assassination, as in the recent attacks upon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accused of “faking” a life-threatening blood clot near her brain.
     Well, as Sam Spade told Brigid O’Shaughnessy in “The Maltese Falcon,” maybe none of these arguments are convincing: but look at the number of them.
     I have been calling these people “it,” but they are not It, they are real people.
     All this occurred to me as I read Dr. Oliver Sacks’ new book “Hallucinations.”
     Sacks’ writing technique is to describe hallucinations as accurately as he can – from personal observation, medical history and advanced science.
     He does not offer overarching explanations.
     The informed accuracy of his descriptions, and his vast erudition on the subject, eventually show us that accurate description, grounded in reality, science and history, sometimes may be as close to a diagnosis as we can get.
     But in the United States today, one of our major political parties has based its platform upon the idea that it’s best if we not allow our problems to be accurately described.
     The Tea Party is turning the Republican Party, as the Stalinists did to the Soviet Union, into an organization with no real accomplishments, whose core programs are based upon hallucinations, and whose only real goal, eventually, will be survival.

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