Thursday, May 29, 2008


Pat Buchanan knows his history, whatever else you might think of him, and he has just written a good summary of the revisionist arguments about the two world wars. I myself alluded briefly to such arguments on 23rd.

I am one of the many history buffs who agree that WWI was the big mistake so I agree with Buchanan there and I certainly agree with him that the peace-obsessed politics of the interwar period were the breeding ground for WWII.

Buchanan is however being wise in hindsight, something easy to do. What he seems largely unaware of is the psychology behind those two disastrous wars. WWI was NOT fought over the assassination of an Austrian archduke in Serbia. Politicians can be pretty foolish but we do our ancestors discredit to think that they were as foolish as that.

Strangely, WWI was the fruit of the long peace engineered by the "Iron Chancellor" of Prussia, Prince Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck gained great authority from the way he used both war and politics to extend the Prussian domain to the point that almost the whole of the German-speaking lands came under the sway of the Prussian crown in the form of a united Germany -- with the Prussian defeat of Napoleon III at Sedan being the clincher.

So how did Bismarck use that great authority and the pre-eminent German military machine that he controlled? If he had been a Leftist like Napoleon, he would have attempted to conquer the world. But he was a conservative so he did no such thing. Once he had attained his aim of a united Heimatland (homeland) -- i.e. a united Germany --- he used his great talents and resources to ensure that there were no more wars in Europe.

And the long peace from 1872 onwards allowed Europeans to concentrate on constructive pursuits for change -- leading to vast economic growth in most of Europe (including Russia). But the huge leap forward in science, technology and prosperity in the late 19th century led to hubris among the populations concened. They were so impressed by their own achievements that they thought they could conquer the world -- literally. And they actually did to some extent -- bringing large slices of what we would now call the Third World under their rule.

Sadly, however, communications then fell a long way short of the global village that we inhabit today and most people in the national populations concerned concluded that their great achievements were the fruit of a national genius peculiar to them. That other nations were doing about equally as well was lost sight of. It was, in short, a time of overweening national pride and they all thought that they could conquer anyone. So they were all spoiling for a fight. They thought that if they could have a war, they could conquer the other nations around them in six weeks. So after Bismarck was no longer there to restrain them, a pretext for a fight was found and the nations of Europe all marched into WWI in full confidence of a rapid national triumph. It was however reality that triumphed.

And after the colossal horror of WWI, who can blame the politicians of the interwar years for doing everything they could to run away from another war? That running away does more harm than good is however the lesson we must learn from that.

Buchanan's article stops before the events of WWII so I will stop there too. Much to be said there but some other time. I do think Churchill was right in his unswerving enmity to Nazism, however.



Rather odd to see in the WSJ an essay by Thomas Frank, that well known hater of American working-class people (particularly in Kansas). And in his essay he tries to strike back at the many people who have accused him of elitism. He does that mainly by linking people who dislike elitism to Richard Nixon. Association with Nixon makes you ridiculous of course. And ridicule of ordinary people is all that he seems to have to offer. He answers critics of elitism with more elitism. His deliberate offensiveness suggests to me that he is profoundly insecure about his own claims to elite status.

Stupid Michigan Democrats: "Officials in Lansing reported this month that the state faces a revenue shortfall between $350 million and $550 million next budget year. This is a major embarrassment for Governor Jennifer Granholm, the second-term Democrat who shut down the state government last year until the Legislature approved Michigan's biggest tax hike in a generation. Her tax plan raised the state income tax rate to 4.35% from 3.9%, and increased the state's tax on gross business receipts by 22%. Ms. Granholm argued that these new taxes would raise some $1.3 billion in new revenue that could be "invested" in social spending and new businesses and lead to a Michigan renaissance. Not quite. Six months later one-third of the expected revenues have vanished as the state's economy continues to struggle. Income tax collections are falling behind estimates, as are property tax receipts and those from the state's transaction tax on home sales. Michigan is now in the 18th month of a state-wide recession, and the unemployment rate of 6.9% remains far above the national rate of 5%..... The tax hikes have done nothing but accelerate the departures of families and businesses."

Congress more stupid than Mexico: "In Congress, rising oil and food prices are leading to all sorts of bad ideas - from new farm and energy subsidies to talk of import controls and higher taxes. The Members should take their next foreign trip to Mexico or Indonesia, where governments are adapting to the commodity price boom with sensible reforms. In Mexico on Sunday, President Felipe Calderon decreed a reduction or elimination of import tariffs on wheat, rice, corn, soy, soymeal and fertilizer. He also cut by half the tariff on powdered milk imports, and he'll allow up to 100,000 tons of beans to enter the country duty free, among other tariff reductions. The reforms are intended to ease the burden of rising food costs on Mexicans, both by allowing cheaper imports and encouraging more domestic food production. They will have the added benefit of spurring more competition for that country's protected food producers."

Iranian mines used in attacks on Brits in Afghanistan: "The underside of armoured vehicles deployed in Helmand has proven to be highly susceptible to mines buried by the Taleban, and the Ministry of Defence is preparing to add extra armour to key vehicles. The relatively new Viking armoured troop-carrying vehicle - which was built for the Royal Marines for use in Norway but is now being used across desert routes in northern Helmand - has proven to be vulnerable to the mines, which are suspected of being supplied from Iran. Five Vikings have been destroyed by mines."

Greenie Britain runs out of power: "Hundreds of thousands of people were hit by electricity blackouts yesterday when seven power stations shut down. The unscheduled stoppages were regarded as an unprecedented sign of the fragility of Britain's power infrastructure. Operations were cancelled, people were stuck in lifts, traffic lights failed and fire engines were sent out on false alarms. Householders were unable to use any appliances or make phonecalls as the blackouts hit areas including Cleveland, Cheshire, Lincolnshire and London. It was unclear last night why the power stations had failed. As the cuts escalated, the National Grid was forced to issue the most serious possible warning - "demand control imminent" - and urged suppliers to provide lower-voltage electricity to meet demand. Energy suppliers affected by the shutdown, including British Energy and EON, said that they could not reveal the reasons for the cuts"


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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