John Ransom

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes, quipped Mark Twain.

As with most of Twain’s homilies, it’s funny because it’s true.

So as the world commemorates the Guns of August—that is, the start of World War I-- history is not repeating itself. But the world today does seem to have a certain poetic, unrhymed iambic pentameter in common with the Great War.

“With a dimming of the lights and ceremonies across this country and in Belgium, monarchs, princes, presidents and citizens prepared on Monday to mark the day 100 years ago when Britain entered World War I at the start of four years of carnage once called the war to end all wars,” writes the New York Times.

But, unlike Twain’s prose, the humor—that is, irony--is missing here.

"The lamps are going out all over Europe,” said Sir Edward Grey at the start of the war we now commemorate. And in one of the most prophetic statements of all time, he added: “We shall not see them lit again in our life-time."

And they didn’t.

Similarly, lights are going out all over the world today, with war disguised as peace and peace disguised as war.

Our “Shining Beacon-on-a-Hill”, which once lit the world, has been replaced with a government-approved, low-watt bulb that costs more, sheds just enough light to keep people in the dark and can only be serviced by qualified environmental specialists who the government provides for us for “free"; we have recently embarked upon the most unstable, balkanized, and dangerous period in our history since America re-lit the European lamps after World War II; War is on the march as we wage a “peace” of our own choosing. And this “peaceful” period is war in masquerade, just as the jousting prior to World War I can be seen as a war by other means. Today’s peace is certainly indistinguishable from war if you count death and destruction as the main fruits of war.

Bolshevism and Menshevism are back too, after a fashion. Today we have government-approved bribes meant to keep us “dark people” obedient; and we have a government run secret police meant to keep an eye on all of us radical agitators in the Tea Party movement.

Today the Cossacks used to keep us in line don’t ride chargers, but rather metadata, pattern recognition software and signals intelligence; or tax returns and government applications; or the federal register where new rules and regulations are promulgated by unelected bureaucrats who make up in viciousness what they lack in common sense.

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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