In 1816, the year James Monroe was elected to succeed James Madison as President, a mother brought her three young sons to America aboard the Debby and Eliza, a sailing ship. The Dublin brewery of her maternal uncle, Arthur Guinness II, had supplied a refreshing brew to troops of both Napoleon and Wellington only a year earlier at Waterloo.
Uncle Arthur was financially benevolent to a number of shirt-tail relatives and the American boys received expensive classical educations. One became a professor of ancient languages at Rutgers College before serving as professor of ecclesiastical history at NY City's General Theological Seminary. Another wound up as assistant rector of New York's famous old Trinity Church. Although the new nation's native inhabitants were being systematically rounded up, massacred, and placed into enclosed camps, there is no indication that either of those godly guys wrote anything critical of that despicable governmental policy. It was just the way things were done then and are still being done when ambitions of those in control revolve around money and power.
One of the immigrant mother's grandsons, after serving in a bloody commercial war between North and South, became Commanding Officer of Arizona Territory's Fort Apache. He died there of pneumonia and his service revolver was presented to his father, the Trinity Church clergyman. I hope that it gave the heartbroken old man something to think about. Inherited by the dead Major's younger and less militaristic brother, a New York City lawyer, the old Remington revolver was passed down to me from my father. Because it requires black powder and caps it wont really help me. That NY lawyer married a woman who became all but totally erased from my family's otherwise detailed and typically romanticized narrative. When I was a young boy these facts were given me by my father's three maiden aunts in their Staten Island home. Numerous Apache items had accompanied the body of their uncle, Major Frederick Darley Ogilby, back to NY from the former Indian Territory. My father's aunts displayed these American Indian items, together with U.S. Cavalry swords, above a fireplace in the huge library amassed by their father, mother, and grandparents. The house was soothingly illuminated by gas lighting, having never been electrified.
I recount these bits of family history for a purpose. Lets get some perspective. The bulk of our much-touted Western culture is wonderfully recent. So-called Western Civilization is overwhelmingly defined as art, music, and literature of seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, allowing its debt to the ancient world. Mozart was born around the time Arthur Guinness purchased his small Dublin brewery. Handel's Messiah had premiered in that city only a few years earlier. Arthur's first child married a Lord Mayor of Dublin, father of Frederick Darley, architect of Dublin's Trinity College and brother to my immigrant ancestor. As Napoleon was bombarding Vienna, six years before Waterloo, Beethoven was concerned that the noise would destroy what remained of his hearing.
We humans have taken millions of years to get to where we are today. What we call today's modern civilization is, for the mass of mankind, an aberration. It is the result of a century of carefully implemented economic strategies. My father was a teenager when he first rode in an automobile. He was twenty-six when Lindbergh flew the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane. I myself was fifteen when Orville Wright, brother of Wilbur, died of a heart attack in Dayton, Ohio. I recall seeing from our flying Gooney Bird in 1952 a jet-powered airplane for the first time. It took off from the Cherry Point, NC Marine Air Base. As North American's prototype FJ-2 Fury fighter jet passed our altitude in an ascending chandelle I thought of my childhood's Buck Rogers comic books.
Wars have created a huge impetus in obliging man's technical abilities to invent and produce increasingly sophisticated items that make money for ownership and management in both wartime and peacetime. Monetary
policies implemented by organized bankers, combined with fiscal policies set by compliant assisting political power, have created mankind's brief aberration that we now call human civilization. For better or worse, it is where we are today. In giving humans what they respond to with glee, the molders of our world became increasingly wealthy. Real wealth is not defined as currency. It consists of exclusivity to the planet's most desirable features, resources, and locations, together with unrestricted personal conduct. It is, in fact, exactly what the masses would enjoy, had they the intellect and desire to achieve it. That is why they admire and openly emulate their guardians, a reality considered politically incorrect by both classical liberals as well as by modern leftists.
I well remember back-to-the-earth movements of the 1970s. They failed when participants became ill, hungry, cold, or restless. Many then found jobs with loving corporations as the national economy boomed. Today we find a plethora of New Age thinkers speaking glowingly of paradigm changes in human consciousness and of a spiritual awakening. I decline to comment on liberal-arts major science gurus who have discovered various forms of cosmic energy outside of the laboratory, not to mention very special people in touch with alien intellects or, at least, historically aware of them and awaiting their own second-comings.
Now an official octogenarian, I am delighted to be able to post this piece online. I dont happen to think that the ills of today are the result of Lucifer worshipers, a single bad religion, a particular tribe of
historically unpleasant humans, or the machinations of a centuries old secret cabal. The elite, intellectually, among any tribal or geographically separated population initially lead their fellows by nature. Rather quickly they learn that their own ambitions and interests can best be served by cleverly propagandizing others. Superstitions are appealed to. Vices are institutionalized. Amusements and entertainments that meet simple standards are created, and basic material needs are easily met. The latter far surpasses that of our ancestral race, the hunter-gatherers. My family lived off the land considerably in summers near the sea. My grandfather and father provided their families with meat by hunting. Growing up on a farm until running away to college, I experienced a life close to nature and home-grown foods. In only a couple of generations all this has changed. Modern civilization is, in many ways, a sham.
Is there any going back? Do we really want to? If so, how? Whatever will become of us if we succeed in
discarding present currency and economic systems? Are our guardians truly evil or are they themselves just trying to stay in the saddle of their own wild horse? We do have laws in place, many of which have been drafted and installed by those in power. They are, in many cases, designed to protect us against the very things being done by their heirs who were raised in privilege, separate from ordinary human beings.
Why dont we, all of us including their own cousins who are not bankers or politicians, just toss them out, work on improving economic and currency policies, and strive together to create peaceful communities in a nation based on living, as much as practical, under reasonable laws?
Columns may be copied or reproduced in their entirety with credit to author, Stewart Ogilby