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To Control the Future You must Control the Past

To Control the Future You must Control the Past

A treatise on The Skin of Our Teeth is a play by Thornton Wilder. 


Learning from the mistakes of the past, we can strive to create a perfect world as shown by Antrobus in By the Skin of our Teeth and in other stories and documents.

            Antrobus was correct in saying that people must learn from the mistakes of the past. That is the only way that people can strive to create a perfect world. If people do not look at the mistakes of the past, they will end up repeating them until all eternity. This is why the study of history exists, to learn from humanity’s mistakes in order to abstain from repeating them again.

            The speech “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King provides a good example. The basic outline of the speech is that he goes from what went wrong in the past and present to illustrate how the listener should learn from the mistakes of the past to create a utopian society. He sites very specific things as examples of what is wrong or has been wrong with the treatment of the African Americans. He proceeds to illustrate his prefect world with such classic phrases as: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.".” This immaculate speech also shows a different time and place that men used the past to create a perfect world.

            That time is 1776, that place is Philadelphia, and that document is the "Declaration of Independence". The whole document a compilation of things that had gone wrong in the past and should now be corrected, such as the oppressing of the American colonies by the British. For example in the Declaration of Independence states:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

This is a great example of the point made by Antrobus that it we must create our own perfect worlds. The framers of the Declaration of Independence and those of the Constitution set out to do that very thing and America was born. It has great world is has become thanks their observation of the past. Unfortunately, more mistakes have occurred and more must be done to continue to strive for that perfect world.
            I personally think that the time is now to create a better world. This is our god given right and duty and it is now that we must make a better world for the new millennium by learning from the mistakes of the past. Take for example the 2000 Presidential Elections. Many times in the past the punch card style of voting has been shown to be inaccurate, but elections were won on such great margins that it did not matter if counts were a few hundred votes off. Learning from the mistakes of the past to create a perfect world all of the voting will be handled by an electronic system. This electronic system could be ether Internet based or Intranet (meaning that people would have to go to the voting place to vote on a closed network) or both. That way not only would every vote be guaranteed to be counted but also recounts would take the mere click of a mouse rather then the many weeks of strenuous hand counting. Such a system would also increase voter turn out as a matter of convenience and voter confidence. This is just one small example of using the past to create a perfect world.

            Another way to create a perfect world by learning from historical mistakes is on the subject of discrimination. Currently America is the most diverse it has ever been, it is also the most indiscriminate it has ever been. Even so, there is stillroom for improvement. Laws such as those that support race quotas and give preferential treatment to minorities in trying to get jobs or into colleges are wrong. Laws such as those are a step in the wrong direction. Rather then telling people that because of their race, sex, or religion that they are handicapped and need extra help, society should be showing them that everyone is equal, sure some are smarter or more physically gifted, but that has nothing to do with their race. Society should be teaching them how to become successful and self supportive. Society has seen negative effect of segregation in the past. By learning from the past society should all take to heart that everyone is truly equal and must treat each other as such.

            Finally, the other big way that society is able to learn from the past pertains to protecting the rights of the individual to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness at all cost. Take for example the plight of the small business owner. Time after time in American history it has been shown that when a situation is left out of governmental controls it has done better. Look at you average business. Most businesses today are subject to thousand upon thousand of regulations that they must adhere to in order to stay in business. These regulations are crushing small businesses that can not afford to pay legal staff to insure they are adherent to such codes and regulations. This is slowly killing off small business in America and may some day lead to the Orwellian view of having only a few mega corporations in America. The way to improve by learning from the past works a little different here. Rather then looking to deviate from the past society should try and recapture parts of it. More specifically, what is learned from the past here is that of the early 1900’s was the glory day of small business. No one went to a Best Buy to buy a TV; they stopped at Fred’s Local TV Shop or something to the affect. This was a glorious time for America and was a great way to spread the wealth around. Now since the government has effectively regulated out the small business, society has become more dependent as a whole upon the large corporations to run our lives. The large corporations have even begun to invade people's very personal lives through the government in the form of such bills as the "Digital Millennium Copy Right Act." Society must look at its past and realize that small businesses are what created American and without them America is no longer a free nation. This is a serious and immediate issue must be resolved in man's continual struggle to create a perfect world.

            Everyone in their time has come up with and idea or a plan that would improve the world. The world is very good at smashing these plans to bit. Ultimately, it will not be specific plans enacted by certain people or governments that will create a perfect world. Rather, it will be free flow of people's ideas that brings about our perfect world.


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