BurningBooksAs a historian, I value an old trite phrase for the truth it extols: Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. I wrote a book—Crushing the Collective: The Last Chance for America to Remain Free and Self-Governingon the premise that the decline and fall of empires and nations begins with the neglect and destruction of their histories.

More than a half-century has passed since George Orwell wrote his prescient dystopia novel 1984 in which he foresaw societies around the world coalescing into despotism. He predicted it might occur as early as 1984; he missed it by a few years.

We now see Orwell’s foresight playing itself out in 2018 America as mobs wearing ignorance and victimhood like badges of honor launch crusades to destroy the history of their country. They howl like coyotes as they rip down monuments, assault those who resist it, and then move on to the next target. The madness started with a statue of Robert E. Lee and has since moved on to include Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington. . .

Cities throughout the U.S. are renaming historic streets, parks and buildings as not to “offend” the aggrieved and self-righteous. Published books deemed offensive are being edited, banned, or destroyed. Author and speakers censor themselves to go along with the new orthodoxy, driving America down to 36th in the world when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified,” Orwell wrote, “every book rewritten, every picture repainted, every statue and street building renamed, every date altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has been stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

I conclude with an observation generated during the Nazification of Germany: Those who begin by burning books end by burning men.

Charles W. Sasser is the author of more than 60 books, many of them histories, but also including action-adventure fiction, SciFi, politics, etc. Most are still available on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.