Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Why WWI?

The bloodshed and folly of WWI is still horrifying to this day.  It seems that the world went mad at that time. And it happened amid the world's most civilized nations.  ISIS are amateurs compared to the combatants of WWI.

One can detail the processes that led up to it -- and I have done that -- but in retrospect the forces at work do seem insufficient by themselves to explain a vast horror. So the thoughts below by an historian are very relevant.  I will add some further comments at the foot of them:

Jay Murray Winter is the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University, where he focuses his research on World War I and its impact on the 20th century.

Reflecting on the causes of the First World War, Jay Winter concludes his six-part video series, The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century (1996), as follows:

"The war solved no problems. Its effects, both immediate and indirect, were either negative or disastrous. Morally subversive, economically destructive, socially degrading, confused in its course, futile in its result, it is the outstanding example in European history of meaningless conflict"

Summing up his conclusions more recently, he states:

"1938 is a long way from now, but it’s still a puzzle. What was it for? Why? Why all this bloodshed? Why the carnage? Why the violence? Why the cruelty? I can’t pretend to have an answer, but I know it’s a question that we still have to resolve"

After 50 years of research and writing, this great historian cannot tell us why the First World War occurred.

Yet the reason for the war is staring us in the face. The bloodshed contained its own meaning. One does not have to look beyond what it was. Observing the daily carnage in France in 1916, P. H. Pearse—founder of the Irish revolutionary movement—told us everything we need to know (in Kamenka, 1976):

"The last sixteenth months have been the most glorious in the history of Europe. Heroism has come back to the earth. It is good for the world that such things should be done. The old heart of the earth needed to be warmed with the red wine of the battlefield. Such august homage was never before offered to God as this, the homage of millions of lives given gladly for love of country"

The First World War occurred so that the earth could be “warmed with the red wine of the battlefield”. It was a form of “august homage” —millions of lives given “for love of country”.

The First World War was a gigantic demonstration of devotion—abject submission— to the nation-state. Societies from throughout the world offered up their young men upon the sacrificial block. They fed the hungry, humungous god, the nation which, like the god of the Aztecs, comes into being —continues to exist— to the extent that it feeds on the body and blood of sacrificial victims.


The above article, apparently written by psychohistorian Richard Koenigsberg, does take us  back rather vividly to the times concerned and does provide a deeper level of explanation for the events concerned.  All explanations open up further questions, however, so we have to ask WHY the bloodlust of that time?  WHY did people see war and sacrifice as glorious?

The answer lies rather clearly in history -- in particular the history that Leftists want us to to forget or never to be told.    There have always been Leftists -- people who are angry at the society in which they live -- but their doctrines have changed greatly over time.  And it so happens that both world wars happened in the "progressive" era -- a time from the late 19th century to the end of WWII -- in which "progressive" thought swept all before it.  Progressivism was culturally dominant.  The dominant thinking of that quite long period was progressive.  It was only the election of Ike in 1953 to the Presidency that called a partial halt to that dominance.

So if we want to understand the strange thinking that Koenigsberg has detailed above, we have to look at the Progressives and what they believed.  They had the basic Leftist inclination to tear down the status quo and upset existing systems that one expects of them -- and there is of course nothing so upsetting to existing life as a war.  Additionally, a war can be used to justify big power grabs that would not be countenanced by the population during peacetime.  And in WWI President Wilson did exactly that sort of grab.

So it was to satiate their desire for destruction and change that the Progressive doctrine included the ghastly thinking that Koenigsberg details.  And there was no-one so representastive of that thinking than Teddy Roosevelt and his battleships.  He too thought war was glorious and a purification of the human spirit.  Hitler thought that too but Roosevelt much preceded him.  Hitler did, after all, grow up in the Progressive era and got most of his ideas from them: racism, eugenics and the virtue of war.

Leftists of today say roughly the opposite of all those things but that is just a matter of convenience.  After the defeat of Hitler, his doctrines fell into disrepute so Leftists turned on a dime and pretended that his doctrines had never been theirs.  But they were.  So it was the bloodlust that Leftists have always exhibited -- from the French Revolution on -- that underlay the terrible deeds of WWI -- JR


Once again:  Obamacare REDUCES the availability of health care

Mountainous deductibles and now this

An Obama administration proposal to reduce Medicare payments for many prescription drugs has run into sharp bipartisan criticism, suggesting that it is easier to diagnose the problem of high prices than to treat it.

Patients’ advocates have joined doctors and drug companies in warning that the federal plan could jeopardize access to important medications. Every member of the Senate Finance Committee — 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats — and more than 300 House members have expressed concern.

In a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society said the proposal “does not protect cancer patients’ access to the lifesaving drugs needed to treat their disease.”

The plan “focuses more on the potential for cost savings” than on how to preserve and enhance the quality of care, it said.

The administration says Medicare’s current payment formula rewards doctors for prescribing expensive drugs. Burwell has proposed a five-year nationwide test to encourage doctors to prescribe less expensive therapies under Part B of Medicare.

In its proposal, the administration said “we intend to achieve savings” but did not estimate the amount.

The first phase of the new “payment model” could begin as early Aug. 1. In the second phase, which could start as soon as January 2017, Medicare would link payment to a drug’s value.

The government might, for example, pay more for drugs that it deemed more effective in treating or preventing a particular condition. Or it might pay the same amount for drugs that it judged to be “therapeutically similar.”

These drugs — to treat various types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, and other conditions — are typically administered in doctors’ offices or hospital clinics. They include drug products that are made from human or animal cells, as well as treatments that mobilize the body’s immune system to fight cancer and other diseases.

Medicare typically pays 80 percent of the cost, and beneficiaries are responsible for the other 20 percent, meaning that they have to pay thousands of dollars a year for some drugs and drug combinations.

Whatever the merits of the proposal, the administration has to date been outmaneuvered on Capitol Hill. Republican lawmakers say President Obama should withdraw the proposal, a step that appears unlikely at the moment. Many Democrats, alarmed at high drug prices, said the administration was making a worthy effort but should not move ahead without doing more to protect beneficiaries.

Representative Lois Capps, a California Democrat and a nurse, said she was concerned about several aspects of the plan. She listed “the nationwide scope of the project, the possible impact on small medical practices in underserved areas, and the potential shifting of patients from provider offices to expensive hospital settings.”

Two dozen House Democrats, including black and Hispanic lawmakers representing large numbers of poor people, said the proposal could disrupt care for their constituents. Doctors practicing in small groups and rural health care providers have less purchasing power, often must pay higher prices for drugs, and will be unable to absorb the “reimbursement cuts,” the lawmakers said.

Another 60 House Democrats, including some of the most liberal members of Congress, signed a separate letter listing even more questions and concerns.

It is not surprising that drugmakers like Amgen, Genentech, and Merck have asked the administration to withdraw its proposal. But some of their concerns seem to resonate with patients desperate for new treatments and cures.

Bari Talente, executive vice president of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said her group opposed the administration’s plan in its current form. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, an advocacy group for patients, said the proposal “could limit access to long-acting injectable antipsychotic medications” used to treat schizophrenia and other disorders.

In a letter to Medicare officials, Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said, “This experiment puts the care of patients at unnecessary risk.”



More news from government healthcare: The British experience

Heartless NHS staff ate the food a wife brought into hospital for her cancer-stricken husband, she claims.

Jennifer Sanders, who is suing the hospital over its treatment of her late husband Freddie, also says staff took away his dignity by being rude and not washing him promptly during his 38 days there.

The retired florist said: ‘My Jack Russell dog Riley-Boy was recently treated at a veterinary hospital and he received better care than Freddie.

'I’ve often thought to myself if I put my Freddie in there, instead of that hospital, would he still be here now. His food was taken from a fridge when he was on that ward.

‘I’d bought him Marks & Spencer carrot cake, jelly terrine, vanilla custard, and some Cornish clotted cream and made him up a bowl, trying to encourage him to eat.

‘When I went to get it the following day there was nothing left, except an empty carrot cake wrapper at the bottom of the fridge, the cream and jelly had gone and there was just a tiny blob of custard left.’

Mrs Sanders, 69, added: ‘He was lying there like a bag of bones, he lost nearly eight kilograms over the period of a month from when he had been admitted, yet someone helped themselves.’

Mr Sanders, 66, already had prostate cancer and diabetes when he was admitted to Whipps Cross Hospital, East London, with a severe cough on Boxing Day 2013.

And his widow believes the former council worker was prescribed the wrong medication during his stay, contributing to his eventual death by being given laxatives even though he already had diarrhoea.

Mr Sanders eventually died in November 2014 and his family has now launched legal action against Whipps Cross Hospital.

Mrs Sanders, who now lives in Wickham Market, Suffolk, said: ‘How could a doctor walk past a man’s bed for 38 days when he was in such a state and not notice he shouldn’t have been prescribed a laxative.

'The care he received left me so distraught I considered giving him and myself an overdose of tablets, just so he didn’t have to endure it any more. ‘I love him and I’ve been his wife for 45 years yet I wanted to kill him out of compassion because of what happened there.

‘There were failings in his care – they let him lie crying, covered in his own mess – he lost his dignity and he deserved better than that.’

The case is one of 93 to be highlighted by the Health Service Ombudsman in its latest report into NHS failings.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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