Summon the moral and intellectual resources to overcome the crisis
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
July 27, 1997
Part II: The just society
So, what is a just society? A just society must be based on truth. What is truth? The discovery of truth, is truth. The educational process by which a child comes from ignorance, and though good nurture and good education, the child is able to increase its power to know and master the universe, and knows that quality in it, by which it achieves that, is good. It's beauty. That's the sense of true truth and beauty and justice.
Now, what's a good society? A good society is one in which two things are immediately satisfied. Number one: Every child has a right to that quality of education, in so much as the society which exists has the means to provide it, that is, the knowledge to provide it. Every child is entitled to share the knowledge which the society has inherited from its predecessors. All children have the right, all human beings have the right to all human knowledge, in that sense. And every child has it.
Now if we educate a child so, and if, living so, making those kinds of discoveries, and those kinds of improvements, is the normal human expression, then society must organize itself, to solve its necessary problems, but to provide each of these children, as they grow up and become adults, with the opportunity to live that kind of life. To do something useful, in some way or other, where they are satisfied that they are expressing that quality which makes them human. They are not imitating an ox; they are not imitating a jackass, like Prince Philip or something like that; they're doing something human. And therefore, ought not society be constituted in such a fashion that we fulfill this?
Then we have another question, which gets us a little deeper, but it's based on the same principle. We are all born, and we are all going to die. Now, therefore, what is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of a mortal life? It has a beginning and an end. Obviously, the meaning is, what it leaves behind, which is not riches, it's something much more important. What's the differnce between relations between human beings, and monkeys? Human beings' social relationship is based on ideas. What is the relationship of a parent to a child, of a teacher to a child? The social relationship of a teacher to a child, is ideas. When you learn, for example, what Eratosthenes did, an example I often use, in estimating the size of the Earth, from inside Egypt, over 2,200 years ago, by just looking up at the Sun and stars. And a child can replicate that. What is a child doing? A child is establishing a relationship, a personal relationship with Eratosthenes, not because they're repeating and honoring Eratosthenes' name, or repeating the results of his measurement, but because the child, in properly studying this experiment, is reliving it. The child is reliving the discovery of principle that Eratosthenes made. The child is reliving the moment inside the mind of Eratosthenes, when Eratosthenes made that discovery.
Now, of course we have a problem these days: We don't understand these things too well. It's because--well, I'll give you an example, it seems to be a digression, but it's not.
The case of poetry
Let's take the case of poetry. Let's take the case, to be explicit, of Shakespeare, William Shakespeare, who should be known to all of us. Now, ask somebody to recite Shakespeare, just a piece of it. Ask a baby boomer to recite Shakespeare. It will never work. It's horrible! Baby boomers have no musicality. A baby boomer, speaks, how? A baby boomer speaks in a monotone, he speaks regularly. He keeps a fairly narrow dynamic range of utterance. There's not much inflection. You can't recite Shakespeare that way. Not that it's a matter of style, it's not a matter of style, it's a matter of content. "To be, or not to be. That's the question." You can't do that in narrow dynamics! You see, the baby boomer never learned to speak. The baby boomer was taught to recite text. To imitate phrases and recite text, not to speak.
I use an example with people, the case of a simple part of Shakespeare, the prologue chorus to a rather ordinary, relatively ordinary play of Shakespeare's, in the opening of King Henry V. You can imagine London, the theater in London, and this actor appears on stage, on a virtually bare stage. No scenery, no drops, no nothing, just a bare wooden stage in a wooden theater. And you've got people down here, and you've got people up there in the balcony, sitting about on three sides, all looking at this stage. And what does this speaker-chorus do? The chorus says, "We're about to present a play here. I'm going to ask you to use your imagination. Where you see one man, I want you see an army. I want you to hear the horses, and hear the beat of their hooves on the field in battle. I want you to hear the clash of arms of great armies."
That's poetry, that's utterance. It's not to get people to hear your words, and agree or disagree with your words. The function of poetry is to evoke from within the mind a cognitive process, and written text is nothing but shorthand, for uttered speech. You must speak in such a manner that you address the mind. You're not speaking to a recording device.
You see the way people punctuate. Read the original Shakespeare, see how it's punctuated. How is it punctuated? What is the principle of punctuation in Shakespeare? Is it grammar? No. Never go to a grammarian's funeral! He was already dead, before he died. The function of punctuation, is to denote, to the reader of the shorthand, called "text," some keys to understand what the spoken utterance was. To assist the reader in re-creating, to hear the spoken utterance, not to read the text. The minute you have a rule for reading text, you don't know how to think anymore. You don't know how to hear.
So, the American population is denied poetry. The American population goes to school. Now a term that is used to show how we were destroyed--and this is part of the story--I use a word, the German word, which Schiller used, a term of derogation, called Brotgelehrte, which I translate into English as people who sing to earn their supper, not for the benefit of the music.
There's a child in school, who says, "Hey teacher, is this going to come up on the examination? If not, why do we have to hear this nonsense?" People who study only to learn how to behave, so as to qualify for employment, not people who study science to become scientists, but people who become well-paid scientists, to make a career.
This was something that happened to baby boomers, because it happened to my generation, when they were scared, when they came back to Truman instead of Roosevelt from World War II. And everybody was scared. The wives especially: "Don't do anything, don't say anything that impairs our family household financial security, or your job prospects." And that dominated the country from 1946 through 1952. And then we went from Truman to "Eisenhowever," and it wasn't quite certain which way you would go. And then the baby boomers were raised in these families which had given up the commitment to truth and morality, in place of political correctness. And nobody wanted to think, or very few of us wanted to think; we wanted to know what it is we had to be overheard thinking, overheard saying. And we got away from the beauty of knowledge, the beauty of education. We no longer taught our children in schools in a Classical humanist way.
We should say that we will shove nothing in a child's mind which the child has not been induced to think, to know. By presenting the child with a problem, when the child is ready to face the problem, and assisting the child in a class which is not unduly large, by the interplay in a class, thus evoke from the members of the class, a reenactment of the mental act of discovery. So that every couple of sessions of the class, there would be a new discovery, maybe three sessions, working through that discovery, then discussing it, reviewing it afterwards. Then going on to the next question, the next discovery.
A Classical humanist education. You read the ancient Greeks to understand the Greeks, as they thought, to learn how they thought, to learn how Homer thought. These aren't stories! Take Homer for example: Why is it important to have your child study Classical Greek? Well, for example, European civilization comes from the Classical Greek, so it's a good place to start; you ought to learn what happened first. In Homer, for example, what do you have? You have conflicts among men, factions among men who were in conflict. But you also have gods, they're always there. The gods of Olympus, are always present. And the gods have conflicts among themselves. And the men take sides with the gods, and the gods take sides with men. And you have this interplay between the gods and men. And if you really follow that, particularly the wonderful case of Ulysses, in the Odyssey, if you follow that, you get an image of the mind of a person, almost 3,000 years ago, in Greece. Because you can hear what is occupying their mind. Then you go on to Aeschylus, at a later point, dealing with the same material. Or Sophocles, dealing with the same material. Then you see the same problems addressed by Plato, in the Socratic dialogues, the same problems. And you see the birth of European civilization....
The child follows another story: How is the Greek mind changing from the time of the Homeric epics into the time of Plato and thereafter? And what do these changes have to do with us? What did the Apostle Paul or the Apostle John see in this? How did that affect us today? Our conception of man, our conception of nature? The child knows.
What we came up with in this century, especially in the postwar period--in my time in school it was already going in that terrible direction, but after the Second World War it became terrible. We had mass education with less knowledge and more learning, or even less learning, later. And we got away from the conception of man in the image of God, and the relationship of the process of education to the idea of man in the image of God. Something really precious there.
Two million years of history
We lost historical sense. When I think back, I think 2 million years. Mankind--2 million years--it's perfectly comprehensible to me, to anyone who studied these materials. Human history: Well, what do we know about human history? As such, we have about 8,000 years, from Central Asia, between 6,000 and 4,000 B.C., is our earliest general knowledge about human society, and how it was organized. Some of the ideas, because they had some solar astronomical calendars from that period, which, when reproduced, tells you something about how they thought.
We depend upon these people. They lived; we live with their ideas. What we are able to do today depends upon what people unknown to us discovered, in these periods before. They're part of my life. And I'm going to die, and they died. And yet I sense, every time I know something, which I do because they discovered it, I have a sense of an immediate relationship with these people! When I study and reproduce an idea which was originally discovered by someone hundreds of thousands of years ago, I have an immediate relationship with that person. And I think about them. With my kind of education and background, my head is very heavily occupied with a large population of people to whom I'm indebted, whom I know very intimately, because I know intimate moments from the inside of their minds, when they were doing some of the most important things that their minds ever did, making these kinds of discoveries, which is a very important moment in anyone's life, when they make important discoveries.
Therefore, I think about the future. I think about the people who are yet unborn, who I don't know. When I'm dead, and what I think today, will determine how they live, and things that I think today, that they must know, and I say, what is this voyage from birth to death, for me? What was the voyage of those who lived before me, who lived and died before me? The same. What did they contribute that's lasting? Fortune? Wealth? No, that's not what's important. What they contributed is the process of ideas, they contributed to a process which is natural to man in the image of God. And when I relive the ideas which they produced, I'm reliving the inside of their minds. And they are alive in me. They're in my head! When you think about anything in science, what do you think? You think about using a principle, you think about, in your mind, the person who developed than principle. That's how you know it. You can almost see the face: Sometimes you know the face and you recall it, and when you're thinking and sitting in a room alone, thinking and working on some scientific work, all these faces, all these people, long dead, are with you, present, as if they were sitting and talking with you in the same room. Because they're in your mind, through the ideas which they transmitted, which you enjoy today.
You can re-create, and you say: Everyone has a right to be that kind of person. Not merely to make discoveries, not merely to be useful, but to think about what it is to have a life, to go through this mortal span of life from birth to death, and to live, something, to do something, in the realm of ideas, which honors those who gave you something from before. Thousands of years, nameless people, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years before. To honor them, because they gave you what you can do today. And to be an honorable person, through your agency, your mortal life, to those unknown who come after you.
The simultaneity of eternity
In Christian theology, this is called the simultaneity of eternity: to live and have an identity, as a necessary person, in one's own place and time, in respect to the simultaneity of God's eternity. That is the basis for the good society. People who had this view, in the middle of the Fifteenth Century, coming after this terrible period in the preceding century, the so-called new Dark Age, conceived what is called the modern nation-state. No longer should 95% of the population live like cattle in the service of a minority, a lordly oligarchical minority and their lackeys. No longer should people live like cattle in herds to be culled and slaughtered at the pleasure of the lordly few. No longer should people be Yahoos under the domination of the rear-ends of horses, called Houyhnhnms, or British aristocrats.
But society must exist in order to provide each and every individual that opportunity of life, which is consistent with man made in the image of God, to exert dominion on this planet. To provide universality of education, of this kind of classical humanist education, in ideas, to establish a personal relationship, through ideas, with valuable people long dead. To feel the enrichment of their lives on one's own life. People who are long dead become personal friends, who you know through the gifts they've helped you to receive. To become a person who lives so, as those honored dead who gave you so much, and to be that to coming generations. That every person has the right to be that kind of person. And to have a society which values every person, for that reason. Which protects the good that people do, so that when you're dead and gone, the good that you've done, in educating in transmitting ideas, adding to the stock of ideas, that society will protect your contribution, to ensure that future generations can enjoy it. And you can go to your grave in peace, saying, "I have lived a good life, from beginning to end, and I have an identity which is untarnished and durable in the simultaneity of eternity."
That was the modern nation-state! They took a young man, who was a prince of a very bad king in France, who was later called Louis XI. And people from the Renaissance in Italy, reached out to this young man, this Dauphin, and said, "We're going to make France the first modern nation-state. We're going to train and educate this young boy, to become that kind of a king." And so this fellow, who became king in 1461, and died in 1483--during that period of his life, took a nation, France, which was not a nation, which was chopped into pieces, and made it a unified nation. He uplifted people, he established in his kingdom the first hospital, which still exists today, in Beaune, in France, in the Burgundy region. He established the first form of a publicly or state-sponsored secondary school, open to children of all classes. He shifted the power in society away from the nobility, the financier nobility and the landowners, toward an urban intelligentsia, which had educated people who had been drawn from all statuses in life, as young educated persons, to be educated.
In other words: the birth of a modern nation-state.
We live in a country, the United States, which was established in that tradition, through the influence of people like Leibniz, and through leaders like Benjamin Franklin, who sought to build in this nation, a republic, which would satisfy precisely the requirements which I've indicated today. Requirements which are specified in what is supposed to be the fundamental law of our country, the preamble of our Federal Constitution, in which we are obligated, not merely to provide certain things for ourselves, living, but we are obligated to provide these benefits for our posterity: the nameless unknown who come after us. Who can vote today, has no right to determine law. Law is eternal. Law is the nature of man, and man's relationship to the universe. That can not be changed. No legislature, no popular majority has the right to change that. But we are responsible, to serve that principle and deliver it intact, in practice, to our posterity. To ensure that this form of society, as Lincoln was to say later, at Gettysburg, and elsewhere, that this form of society shall not perish from this Earth, and we shall defend it.
Now, the problem is this. From the beginning, with the introduction of this new form of society, of which our nation has been, at times, the leading expression on this planet, it's our great privilege, and our responsiblity, and our duty, to serve the best that our nation represents for humanity. This nation, and this form of society, was never able to run on its own. The landowning class, or the aristocracy, and the loan sharks, the financier nobility, never gave up power. So, as we established a better form of society, and improved life on this planet through the impact of scientific and technological progress, and new political forms, nonetheless, we did so under conditions of a kind of standoff with our enemies, the enemies being the feudal landowners--who were essentially assimilated, generally--and the loan sharks. Today, Wall Street is a good example of that, the Wall Street mentality. The financier parasites who sit upon society and suck it of its juices, and who say, "We have too many people," or "The poor want too much." Or, "We have to protect Wall Street's interests; therefore, people have to suffer, children have to die, nations have to die, because we think there are too many people here or there." In which the principle of goverment is betrayed.
The striped-pants boys
Now we lived under a condition of nations. And the enemy, the oligarchy is the proper name for it--we had them in our country. Franklin Roosevelt refered to them as "State Department striped-pants boys," and things like that. The Wall Street crowd was another term for these disreputable specimens. "British" was also a common term used to describe them, British oligarchs, in my time. This fancy love and admiration of British oligarchs is a fairly new phenomenon, among baby boomers and afterward.
We had a standoff, but they depended upon us, because we, with modern education, with the machine-tool industry, with scientific and technological progress, provided the means of national defense, to keep our nation from being destroyed. So every time these guys would get a war whomped up someplace, or coming, they would rely upon us, those who represented this kind of society, scientific and technological progress, universal education, these sorts of things; they would rely upon us to produce the means by which to defend the nation. And when the military threat had gone by, they'd put us back, if they could, into a closet, or suppress us. And Wall Street would take over once again, and loot us all over again.
But, then a change came, it came in the middle of the 1960s, and I see around the room that most of you saw it. In 1962, the missile crisis. People were running into churches, who didn't know what they were. Anything that looked like a church, they'd run into it, during those weeks when those ships, Soviet ships, were speeding toward Cuba. The degree of terror in this country was beyond belief, especially among young children who were then adolescents, who did not know what morality was, because their parents hadn't taught it to them, the schools hadn't taught it to them. They're terrified that tomorrow morning, or tonight, maybe the nuclear weapons are going to hit and we're all going to be fried. Thirteen months later, we had a President who was opposed to some of these deals, who was assassinated. Martin Luther King, later on, was killed. And the horror of the Vietnam War, on television every night, brutalized the nation. But at that point, the oligarchs--whom some like to call oilygarchs--these fellows said, "We have now reached the point, because of the terror, that has caused the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, to enter into a process called de@aatente, under which they are gradually going to give up war, except for little wars like Vietnam, or something like that, where they can kill a lot of people without threatening much of anything--except people--and we're going to produce world government. We're going to eliminate the nation-state, and have world government. What we're going to do is eliminate technology, or cut it down; we're going to take away education from people; we're going to get them out of science and technology; and we are going bring society back to what Jonathan Swift saw in England under King George I. We're going to create a society in which 5% of the population are lords, ladies, and lackeys, and 95% are Yahoos. We're going to turn the children into Yahoos."
And that's been going on, all over the world, for the past 30 years.
What happened is, that 30 years ago, when this effort was made, people of my age, and older, were people who were running the policymaking institution of the world, including the United States. People who are now deceased, or are now in their 80s or 90s, were making policy; they were occupying top positions in government, in universities, in industries, in churches, and so forth. And they wouldn't accecpt the radical changes that some of these people wanted to make. So, what did these evil fellows do? They went to the university campuses, and they introduced the counterculture. And the people who passed the course, that is the people who flunked humanity, were relied upon to occupy, a generation later, the top-most positions in government, in business, in education, in the church, and so forth. So, by getting the very worst people tracked into their march throught the institutions, in the top-most positions, as my generation and the older generation died out, or became retired, the younger people moved in.
And, who moves in? Generally the college students, or certain sections of them. And by tracking those who are coming out of this college track, into dominant positions in government, who had these crazy new ideas about a post-industrial utopia, about eliminating technology, stopping scientific progress, and creating a perfect society, with 95% of pleasure-seeking Yahoos, almost incapable of human speech, as Jonathan Swift saw in his imaginary Houyhnhnms, land of the Houyhnhnms, or George's England.
Now, what does this mean? The ability to sustain a population of over 5 billion people on this planet, depends not only on modern technology, but on improving it. We could sustain up to 25 billion people on this planet, with no great problem. The technology that we possessed, on this planet, at the end of the 1960s, if fully developed and marshalled, could sustain every person on this planet, with a population of 25 billion people, with an income comparable to the average income of the middle class in the United States in the 1960s. With no pollution--with less pollution.
If you take away technology
So, we could do that. But what happens if you take away technology? What if you go back into a paradise, an ecologists' paradise? The ability of this planet to support the existing level of population collapses. What kind of a population could we maintain on the basis of the kinds of political institutions which existed in the Fourteenth and early Fifteenth Centuries, when the modern nation-state was born? The total human population of this planet reached the level of a couple hundred million, at about the time of the Roman Empire. Largely as a result of the effect of Greek civilization, and some things in China and India, in improvements of human conditions. The level of the human population of this planet did not reach above a few hundred million persons until the Fifteenth Century. The entire growth of the increase of population on this planet, the increase of life expectancy, the improvement of the demographic characteristics of family households, which has occurred in every part of this planet, is a result of the revolution in political institutions, and scientific progress, which has occurred through the European revolution that created the nation-state.
If you take that away, it's like taking out the foundations from under a building. And very rapidly, the population of this planet will collapse back toward several hundred million people. And that is what you're seeing happening in Africa today. First of all, you take away the right to progress; the next step, is you take away the nation-state itself, you take away the responsibility.
How did they destroy Zaire? First of all, IMF, the International Monetary Fund, ordered Mobutu to begin destroying his own country. Zaire ceased to be a nation-state, and began to disintegrate. Then, they decided to destroy it utterly, which they've now done. Then carve it up, so that the choice parts, the mineral parts, and so forth, are taken over by private companies associated with the British Commonwealth. The national borders of the nation-states of Africa disappear. Whole parts of Africa are turned into no man's land. Only a few parts survive, where the precious assets are that somebody wants to hold; hold this area, with the aid of the Crown Agents to supervise it, and mercenary armies to defend the territory. In the rest of Africa, the effect is then what? It is the logic of famine and epidemic disease. If you have, like this ebola virus, and other things like that, if you have killer epidemic viruses which hit populations in reduced circumstances, for which these populations have no built-in immune factors, acquired immune factors, the rate of death is terrible. You can not find enough people to bury the people that have died. And that is what threatens Africa.
The same process is now under way in large parts of the Americas, in Central and South America.
So, what we're seeing, as I said earlier, is we've reached the point of a civilization, like biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, which is manifesting a loss of the moral fitness to survive, has repudiated the principles upon which modern civilization's achievements--mixed as they are, tainted and contaminated as they have been--have all depended. Obviously, we're dealing not with a mere financial and economic crisis, although that economic crisis and financial crisis is beyond anything that any of you have ever known, in this century, on this planet. And it's coming now; it's not something that's forecast, it's happening now. But there's something much deeper. The financial and economic crisis, is a reflection of a much deeper moral crisis.
Is that a totally pessimistic message? No, it's not. Let's go back in history. Go back to the Fifteenth Century. Go back to the time of the Golden Renaissance. Who made the Renaissance? Of all the population which existed at that time, only a tiny minority made the Renaissance. In every great event that happened in every country, it was always a tiny minority, whose leadership in the domain of ideas, brought about those revolutions which solved the problems and provided a blessing to humanity. It is the same today. The problem with us, as a nation, is that we have grown too accustomed to tolerating things we should not have tolerated.
For example, a typical thing is, you talk with somebody on the phone about the stock market. You say, "Well, you should get out of mutual funds. I can't tell you what date the market is going to collapse, but this thing is going, and if you're in mutual funds, you're in the worst place of all. You could be totally wiped out. You could not only lose your money, you could find yourself with a debt that you didn't think you could have." But they say, "I need the money, I need that extra margin of income. I need it!" You talk to them about the stock market. You tell them, "Look, a 20 to 30% collapse is what you've got to prediscount. When? Could be August, could be October, could be later. But, it's going to happen, and you don't want to be there when it happens." "Tell me what date it's going to happen, so I'll pull out the day before." Eh? That's what you get.
So what people do, is they go through life saying, "Well, maybe it could happen." Or, they say something else which is even sillier; they say, "They would never let that happen to my money." Who's they? The guys that are going bankrupt?
We can solve the problems that confront us
So, there's a tendency in humanity to postpone facing reality. It's only when people recognize that what they're doing ain't going to work, that they are actually forced to sit down and think it through, and think what must we do to solve this problem.
We have solved, in humanity's history, we've solved problems which are as dangerous as this before. We can do it again. We just have to find the will to face up to doing that.
For example, I remember I was in New York City, on the famous day, Dec. 7, 1941. I was in here on business, and I had an appointment, which had to do with employment, employment prospects, which happened to be on a Sunday, because it involved a company which was recruiting here in New York City. So, I was going to that appointment. I was up on Sunday morning, and I walked down to the hotel where we were going to meet the people with whom we were going to have this discussion about this employment prospect. I walked into the lobby, and there was something very funny about that lobby. A lot of people there, sitting, stunned. And then I heard the voice of the President, President Roosevelt. And I saw, in those few moments, I saw a people that I knew, the American people, as exemplified by those in New York, and what happened elsewhere: There was an immediate, instant transformation throughout this country, in a matter of less than a couple of hours, as attitudes of the most fundamental sort, from coast to coast, were changed. What people were doing, was they were running around trying to find recruiting stations, military recruiting stations, and things like that. But the reactions were sudden, and fundamental, and sweeping.
In times like these, that's the kind of thing you expect. And we're getting to the time, where the hope is, that we will be frightened enough, without being terrorized, into recognizing that we have to change. The things we've put up, which are destroying us, which are making us morally unfit to survive, are things with which we have to deal.
Then you look at this nation. Look at this nation: Look again, just at its history. This nation was a great success, as of 1783. It wasn't yet perfected, it took until 1789 before we could get a decent form of government, with the inauguration of George Washington. But at the same time, a terrible thing happened in France. Because this nation's existence was actually dependent upon the power of France. In 1789, France collapsed, and came very rapidly under the dictatorship of our deadly enemies, the Duke of Orleans, and Robespierre's Jacobins, Robespierre's faction of the Jacobins. In the years that followed, between 1789 and 1814, we had no friends, but only enemies throughout the nations of Europe, and the world. None! The nations of Europe in 1814 came under the control of the Holy Alliance, better called the Unholy Alliance, every member of which was dedicated to the destruction of the United States. We consisted, in this nation, of a few million people, scattered on the Atlantic shores and the Caribbean shores. That's what we were. Against almost the entirety of the world.
And that continued until almost the 1850s, when the United States got its first ally, after 1814; when the French and the British ganged up on Russia, a young tsar, Tsar Alexander II, allied himself with the United States, or the patriots of the United States. And when the Civil War, which was organized by the Briish, broke out, which was the result of the corruption in our country, Tsar Alexander II saved the United States, because he did two things: First of all. he sent a message to London and France, and told the French, and the British, and the Spanish, that if they dared to interfere on the side of the Confederacy, against the United States, that Russia would launch war against them throughout Europe. Secondly, Tsar Alexander II sent the Russian Navy, which had been built with the help of American patriots after the Crimean War, he sent the fleet to New York harbor, out here, and to San Francisco, with sealed orders to make war against the Confederacy, the British, and French, should they act in any way to interfere against the United States.
We emerged from that. From Lincoln's adminstration through 1876, the United States emerged as the most powerful economy on this planet, the technologically most advanced. The advancement of the German economy came as a direct result of German collaboration with the United States, in doing in Germany what had been done already in the United States. We created Japan in that period; Japan was nothing but a bunch of islands under feudalism. It was the United States that made Japan a modern nation, directly, and an ally. It was the United States that created movement for the freedom of China. We created Sun Yat-sen, and backed him, for the independence of China.
So this nation, beleagured on a planet for many decades, torn by evil within it, in terms of the Confederacy and what that represented, by the evil that was and still is Wall Street--we, in our time as a nation, have done great things. The nation-state which was created in the Fifteenth Century, was created by a handful of people. These achievements we have at our disposal, these lessons. And anyone who understands these lessons of the achievements of civilization, from the distant past, but especially from modern times, knows that, as we understood from Dec. 7, 1941 in this country, we can do whatever is necessary to solve the problem.
And I saw in that period, I saw a gray-faced people, who hadn't had decent work, but had formerly had some skill, throughout the Depression, I saw them stumbling into shops that were junk shops, and I saw, after a year or so of this process, that these people, who had virtually lost skills, had been gray-faced in their mental life and appearance, were producing production miracles. And that these plants, which were junk heaps, were the places where these miracles were being created. The United States began turning out machine tools, and the U.S. government began sticking machine tools of an advanced type in every nook and cranny. In Brooklyn, for example, here, in New York City. And from the wastelands of Brooklyn, industries sprung up, new industries, revitalized. Which is part of the process of creating the power by which this nation addressed this problem in World War II.
We can do it again. But we have to recognize the principles. We have to rethink, reflect upon those things that once made us great, or made us a nation of promise. Reflect upon the lessons that we should have learned from human history, and reflect, above all, what is valuable in life. Because once you understand, that what is important about your life, from its beginning to its end, is finding and realizing a permanent identity of which you need not be ashamed, in the simultaneity of eternity, then you have unlimited courage, and unlimited moral strength, and you can do anything. This is the time when we have to turn in on oursleves, and find the secret wellsprings of moral strength within ourselves. And inspire others to do likewise.
Look the evil of this danger fully in the eye. Look at the horror of Africa today in the eye. Look at the horror in Central and South America in the eye. Look at the homelessness on our streets, the bankruptcy of our medical system, the murder that's going on in the name of medical practice under these insurance companies. Look this in the eye, and say, "We're going to deal with it, and we have the intellectual resources to summon in ourselves and in others to deal with it."
In times past, a few have provided leadership; in the times present, a few must provide leadership.