by phil on Thursday Jan 11, 2007 9:25 PM
I think one of the fundamental problems is yes, we have forgotten the Vietnam War. According to wikipedia, the war ended in 1975. If you were age 14 or younger at the time, you wouldn't have a faintest clue about the public sentiments of the time. So if you were born in 1961, you'd be aged 46 now. 1961 is the same year that Barack Obama was born. I have no idea what happened in Vietnam. I feel that the only explanation for the mess of Vietnam is some sort of intractable bubble of logical fallacies in the stream of mass consciousness. My personal theory of politics is that of "perfect storms." You have a system, you have a group of a 535 legislators all not wanting to act like cowards, a president who is emboldened by the idea that opinion polls showing weakness is a prime opportunity for him to show strength. Everything participates in a feedback loop, a bam.
They have that saying, that the real lesson of history is that it repeats itself. I think I get too caught up in the fantasy that our march to the singularity means we're at a level of technological superiority that we can improve our collective memories. For christ's sake, God gave us Google and wikipedia, and still we can't conjure up the past and learn from mistakes. He's probably sitting there in the Heaven's going, "well, I've tried everything. I gave you a K-12 education with pristine textbooks. I gave you libraries upon libraries. I gave you TV and the History Channel. I gave you a free press. And when all that wasn't enough, I gave you Google and wikipedia." But alas, with all the powers of technology, it still comes down to human choice. Do you make a choice to use the technology at your fingertips to inform yourself about the consciousness of the past in order to affect the consciousness of the future. Or do you just rehash your role.