The two histories

I was surfing the net last night and came across the introduction to the book The Unseen Hand by Ralph Epperson. He writes about two types of history. The most accepted one is the accidental view of history: Historical events occur by accident, for no apparent reason. Rulers are powerless to intervene.

He also quotes James Warburg and Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, on accidental history. The first one wrote in a book entitled The West In Crisis that “history is written more by accident than by design, often by the wholly irrational acts of madmen.”

There is some truth to that, but I also think some of those madmen are designing or engineering events.

Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote that “history is much more the product of chaos than of conspiracy. …increasingly , policy makers are overwhelmed by events and information.”

The other type, which Epperson believes in, is the conspiratorial view of history: Historical events occur by design for reasons that are not generally made known to the people.

I’ve never heard about Epperson, but he sounds like a conspiracy buff. Maybe it’s just as well that I don’t know what he’s said and written, but these two definitions intrigued me. I guess the prevalent theory is that all history is accidental, but is that really realistic? I don’t get deeply involved with conspiracy theories, but at the same time I find it hard to believe that everything is a result of chaos and overwhelmed politicians.

This is what most people remember Colin Powell for:

He misled the UN, but said later that he was misled himself. The evidence Powell presented was viewed with skepticism in Europe, including the closest ally, Britain. I don’t think these weapons Powell talked about ever surfaced. So what happened? Did the USA want an invasion so badly that they lied? I believe the Bush administration lost many international supporters after this. It looked to me that Bush wanted to design history, and I believe this is the reason why many view the USA with skepticism. That is a shame when there are so many reasons to like this union.

What is going on with the ruble? The value dropped by 50 % against the US dollar in 2014, and this is mostly tied to the oil price. The oil price was relatively stable between 2010 and mid 2014 with an oil price of around $ 110 a barrel, but in a very short time it went down to under $ 50. The reason for this was most likely a weak growth in the entire world, according to BBC, but I believe the financial crisis started in 2007, and I’m not sure this was inevitable now. I’m sure this dramatic drop in the oil price has to do with oversupply, but the fact that the USA and OPEC don’t want to produce less is making it worse. If they can afford it, and Russia can’t, they can do a lot of damage.

Clearly the oil-producing countries would have made a lot more money if they had left the oil where it is for now, so why aren’t they? They could of course be desperate for any income they could get their hands on, or if I allow myself to speculate, they want to get Russia into trouble. The Russian economy was already showing signs of struggling, and as they get 70 % of their export income from oil and gas, they are probably bleeding heavily right now.

russian currency
What’s going on with the Russian currency?

In another story the world is condemning Russia for breaking international law in Ukraine, and I have no doubt that they are, but the news seems to be one sided. Russia is all bad and Ukraine is all good. There are reports suggesting that there is violation of international law on both sides. According to Human Rights Watch Ukrainian government forces are probably responsible for using cluster munitions in the city Donetsk. Amnesty International are collecting evidence of atrocities on both sides of the conflict. It’s not surprising; war is ugly. There is no such thing as our boys and girls doing noble deeds to bring democracy where there used to be savages. We seem to be shocked every time a soldier breaks that illusion, or a baseball-player/athlete brings dope into our clean sport, or Norwegians are forced to admit that racism actually exists here too.  We don’t talk much about that because we are the good guys.

I am just speculating about Russia and Ukraine, but it seems to me that this didn’t just happen. Incidentally, when the previous Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was removed from power, the present president was very much involved. He owns a TV channel that covered the Orange Revolution. When Petro Porosjenko won the election and became president, Western media referred to him as an oligarch, which he clearly is. He represents the old Ukraine, but he is an oligarch that wanted independence from Russia. That’s why we support him.

This is why I am asking myself, what is going on? Is this just something that just happened? Ukraine, EU and the USA just happened to end up in the same bed in this ménage a trois? Personally I believe there was a strong will, and planning behind this development. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Some feel comfortable calling it a conspiracy; some want to distance themselves from that word and refer to it as accidental, or they might go as far as using the word design.

That makes more sense to me. Conflicts doesn’t just materialize out of nothing, with nothing or nobody doing anything consciously to set the wheels in motion. Someone designed or engineered the plans that started the movement towards a certain action. It may not be conspiracy in the sense that there is a small group called Illuminati (a secret order founded in Germany in 1776) that run the world, but I am not convinced of the coincidence theory either.

We are not told about most things our governments do. That doesn’t mean they don’t do it. If you want to talk conspiracy, you could of course argue about who influences the politicians.

7 thoughts on “The two histories

  1. Is history a result of random coincidence or deliberate human calculation?

    That is a tough question to tackle from our perspective. I suspect the answer contains elements of both views, plus a third one that the author doesn’t seem to address.

    I really do think some of the terrible choices our leaders make are simply a result of human foolishness. Arrogance, pride, greed…the usual. They aren’t “trying” to be evil, but are short-sighted regarding the consequences of their efforts.
    But the consequences of sin are usually notably unpleasant. When large numbers of people are adversely affected, the wrongness of the decision eventually becomes obvious.
    Many political maneuvers seem to be based on hunger for power and control over people’s lives. Others may be genuinely motivated by a misdirected desire to help.

    Power/financial control is often a factor, though.

    Several years ago, I nearly had an emotional meltdown over the generalized instability of the world. Especially when rumors began flying about the new President I certainly had not voted for.
    Nearly every internet experience seemed punctuated with articles and youtube videos about ancient, evil conspiracies that are manipulating our lives from the shadows. Some of the claims are incredibly disturbing, and I don’t doubt that there is some measure of reality at the center of the sensationalism. At the least, there is one ancient, evil personality which has been bent on destroying humanity from the very beginning. Historically, there are some who appear to have been willing cohorts.

    I feel pity for my poor husband as my anxiety levels were extremely disruptive to our home. But I also thank God for him, because he’s the one who pointed out the third option regarding history.

    Isaiah 8:12-13 (ESV) sits in the middle of a biblical passage regarding God’s judgment of His people for rejecting Him.
    “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.
    But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

    And then I discovered Proverbs 16:9, which states that, although people make plans, it is God who directs our “steps”. In Genesis, Joseph reassured his treacherous brothers that, although their intentions toward him had been evil, God had directed the situation for the good of many. And in Exodus, it is recorded that the result of the showdown between Moses and Pharaoh was predetermined, even though the king repeatedly changed his mind during the conflict.

    I thought that was interesting

    . War is, as you say, ugly. And many times, it hurts helpless children and people who just want to live simple, peaceful lives. These are evils for which the culprits will answer. But it is good to have assurance that nothing is outside of God’s awareness, and He does allow certain disasters for ultimately good purposes that we can’t always comprehend from this side of eternity .

  2. I agree with you, there is a lof of short-sightedness among politicians, and they aren’t really qualified to do much. They need to listen to experts telling them what decisions they should make. When politicians for instance make a decision about building a major road, an airport or something like that, they don’t really know what they are doing. It’s too technical. I suespect they feel lost a lot of the time. Good point.

    As for evil or the Evil one, we know he’s not going to give up. I do believe evil is going to lose eventually, that’s inevitable. Speaking of plans, do you think Judas had a chance? Could it even be that he did what Jesus asked of him, was his betrayal necessary?

    1. Judas is an enigma, isn’t he?

      Perhaps it is possible that he was both selected by God and that he chose the role he played.

      I’m not sure why a betrayal was incorporated into the plan, but it was prophesied in Psalm 41:9 and Jesus referenced it in John 13:18. So, in a sense, it was necessary for someone to fill the part in order to fulfill everything God predicted would happen.

      But I don’t believe that Judas was forced to do anything against his own will. It appears that his love of money was stronger than any affection he may have had for Jesus.

      Do Norwegian believers struggle to reconcile the concepts of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility?

    2. Do Norwegian believers struggle to reconcile the concepts of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility?

      I ask because many American Christians have difficulty with this. I was just curious to know whether it is a matter of discussion outside our own culture.

    3. Not sure I understand the question, but I take it to mean that God expects us to obey his command.

      I don’t go much to church and don’t really know what the different denomination think, but there seems to be a weakened feeling of responsibility in general. The trends in society seem to influence the church, so these days a christian is concidered to be intolerant if he/she opposes homosexuality, abortion, Islam, materialism, criticizes the lack of solidarity etc. There are many issues that shouldn’t be controvercial, but are. We seem to be trying to re-negotiate the contract.

      But of course there are churches where they are more radical, but all in all I’m not optimistic about the numbers

    4. Thank you for the thoughtful response. You’ve described some of the issues we face in the mainstream American church as well. We forget about the majesty and holiness of God all too easily, don’t we?

      I apologize for the confusion. My question was somewhat generic in nature as your thought about Judas would tend to propel many American Christians into a debate about Calvinist ideas of predestination vs. Arminian free will interpretations of scripture. Some individuals are very sensitive about their perspective and I didn’t want to inadvertently offend with my response.

      If this isn’t a concern for you all, I don’t want to press the discussion. It can be wearying and I don’t really belong in either camp, anyway.

    5. I definitely believe in a free will. I’m not sure about the exact definition, but when you mention predestination I assume we are talking about a few people God has chosen, and possibly that God is also responsible for everything that takes place. I can understand why that doctrine never became widely popular.

      This gives me an idea for a post, something I’ve been pondering for a while. Where should a christian’s loyalties lie? I’m reading “A Pilgrim’s Progress” for my book challenge at the moment, and I believe the question of loyalty is relevant in this book as well.

      I think the traditonal christian view is that we should support our government no matter what they do, and if you don’t, you are not being patriotic. The post isn’t going to encourage breaking the law, but I think the break down in morality has to do with the spirit of patriotism, in a way. Well, I have to think about this and try to collect my thoughts.

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