Have you ever wondered what Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson might say if they were alive today?
Some of the great, wise leaders of the past are slowly being forgotten as their words get overshadowed by the proliferation of words in books, magazines and web sites, and as popular culture renders these figures less than heroic or overlooks them entirely.
I have believed for a long time that unless we learn lessons from history that we will find ourselves repeating mistakes of the past and end up in difficulties from which it may be impossible to escape. I actually think civilization is at risk for a lot of reasons, from the low birth rate in Europe (as pointed out in the book “The Death of the West” based on United Nations forecasts), to the addictions to gambling, pornography, and drugs that are becoming more prevalent, and the resulting breakdown of traditional families and family values, to the huge national debt and the looming economic problems that may occur when the ratio of workers to retired falls to 2:1 or even lower. (In 1950 there were 16 workers for every retiree receiving social security benefits.)
In the 2005 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, Charlie Munger opined that “we are at or near the apex of a great civilization.” Coming from one of the smartest investors in world history, this is something to pay attention to.
Most of all, the hatred towards the United States and all it stands for in many regions around the world may lead to another “war to end all wars.” This time the outcome may be far worse because of the weaponry that may be used.
I think we are a target for hatred because of our prosperity and also because of misguided foreign policies, in some cases going back decades. We have too often been a bully. At other times we have been weak because of entangling alliances which make it difficult to take a stand.
But more than all of this, I believe the U. S. helps generates the most hatred for our nation and our way of life by by producing content that celebrates violence, sex, and wealth and broadcasting it without any restraint or sensitivity to societies all over the world (including poor nations and highly religious nations), thus creating both jealousy (for our prosperity) and hatred towards us for attacking the values that they hold most dear.
After watching some movies and TV shows, which glamorize evil, it’s no surprise that some fundamental religious societies think of the U. S. as the Great Satan.
But, under the banner of Freedom of Speech, which we rightly enjoy in this country, our media producers seem to utterly disregard the impact of their creative works on young minds and old in the Middle East and elsewhere, who come away with an image of America that is completely distorted. And it’s one that is easy to despise. Too bad the Andy Griffith show doesn’t get watched worldwide. Instead it’s Dallas, Baywatch, and every other pirated R-rated movie that young people can get their hands on. I was told that the first satellite TV broadcast in Afghanistan after the Taliban fell was something from MTV.
(It’s ironic that so many Hollywood producers and actors speak out against our foreign policies without acknowleding that their content leads to inaccurate stereotypes of the ugly American and all kinds of misperception about what kind of people we are.)
I’ve met many people from foreign countries who knew almost nothing about the United States except what they saw on television. They discovered that people in this country (at least in middle America) are totally different from what they had anticipated.
I’ve wanted to team up with Michael Medved or someone and publish a book about how the media we produce and distribute worldwide helps creates the anti-American hatred that threatens our civilization.
Okay, so what does this have to do with famous bloggers from history?
Well, one way to export a more favorable view of the United States and its original values is to proliferate the writings of all our greatest leaders and thinkers.
So Worldhistory.com is going to be recruiting bloggers who will each adopt a great historic figure and start blogging each day about what that person would say if he or she were alive today. We will start blogs for many of the founding fathers and early presidents, supreme court leaders, congressional leaders, as well as leading business figures, inventors, scientists, educators, and religious leaders.
Our bloggers won’t make stuff up. Instead, they will find current events or topics that are in the news, and then they will find actual quotes from the writings or speeches of the historic figure and try to find one or more statements that sheds light on the contemporary issue. And we won’t be limiting our history blogger network to American historical figures. Worldhistory.com is about world history, and the great ideas from thinkers and leaders all over the world are sorely needed to help us achieve balance, tolerance, and a sustainable future for our civilization.
We will provide bloggers with access to electronic libraries and search engines that will make it easy to find any quote and blog it.
Blake Snow will be organizing this new blogger network, so if you are interested, please contact him at blake “AT” griffio.com.
Oh, and the bloggers will keep the majority of the advertising revenue that they can generate from AdSense or other ads. We’ll host the blogs and promote them on our other sites, including worldhistory.com.
But it’s not the money, it’s the cause that really matters the most. It is really important, in my view, for all of us to ocassionally remember what Abraham Lincoln, or Winston Churchill or Mother Theresa might say if they were with us today.