Paul Jacob

I never thought I’d do it. I’m about to quote a Marxian witticism.

It’s the first two sentences of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonapart. This is what Karl Marx said, this is what that great and evil thinker said:

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Self-refuting, perhaps. Apply the sentence to the two relevant names: Hegel plays the comic figure; Marx, obviously, the tragic. Following Hegel, enthusiasts would speak airily of the Spirit and of History and so forth — you know, granola-crunchy college-educated nonsense; following the younger thinker, Marx, enthusiasts would kill hundreds of millions of people.

But let’s play along. Take the Great Depression. That was tragic. Right?

Now take our current economic downturn. Nonsense is being uttered about it from the highest turrets of our best universities to, uh, the depths of Salon.com and the Daily Kos.

It has taken years to clear away fact from nonsense about the Great Depression. Scholars have labored in backwater colleges as well as prominent universities, sifting truth from propaganda about that inglorious time.

They certainly labored against a deluge. Franklin Delano Roosevelt has received so many encomia that the monument of verbiage covers over any truth. For years there, it seemed everyone treated FDR as the second coming of George Washington. Even Ronald Reagan admitted to admiring FDR.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.