Thursday, April 2, 2009 66 Comments

A gentle introduction to Unqualified Reservations (part 8)

Today we are going to finish with the historical part of the series. Beginning with part 9, we move on to the practical material.

But not yet, because we are not yet done with history. We still have the 20th century to kick around.

The 20th century is surely our best-remembered century. It is also our worst-understood. I have spent a substantial percentage of my adult life trying to understand the 20th century. My conclusion: hardly anyone understands it at all.

That says, most of us know most of the relevant facts. The reality and the reality show are made out of (almost) exactly the same materials. In terms of all major factual events, the history of the 20th century that you learned in school is, so far as I can determine, correct - with one small exception.

(And what is that exception? "Why is there a watermelon there?" And no, it's not the five key Jews behind Osama bin Laden.)

The difference is our interpretation of events. We know what happened. Why did it happen? Let me explain this question with an anecdote.

I apologize for neglecting the blog somewhat of late. I will get the Chinese spam out of the comments somehow, I promise, although I would really hate to have to turn on moderation. I liked one commenter's idea of accepting it as an inscrutable contribution from the Oriental sages of old. As for the Jews, I admit it: I am their tool. I will deal with the subject more below.

Anyway, one bad excuse for this neglect is that I was in Ohio for Sibyl's first birthday, getting her infected by a herd of sickly cousins. Sibyl's aunt and uncle are very much blue-staters in a red state, and they live in a half-gentrified section of Columbus, "Olde Towne East." (I feel the East deserves an extra E as well.)

Olde Towne Easte has seen some changes in the century of our concern. And not changes for the better. Basically, my sister-in-law, her husband and their two children live in a neighborhood of crumbling mansions. Some have now been restored. Some, like one we saw only three blocks away, are more or less crack dens.

My in-laws are not the people who built these mansions. They are not anything like the people who built these mansions. Nor is anyone in the neighborhood - not the SWPL Obama voters, not the Section 8 Obama voters. The world that built these mansions - the Midwest of Booth Tarkington (have a look at Penrod if you want to see Middle America before progressivism) - is no less dust than the Caesars. Yet its dwellings remain, mostly.

And all this is normal, of course. Completely unremarkable. While I was in Ohio, I asked people a simple question: what happened to Olde Towne Easte? Why did it decline? Why did the mansions of the town pillars of Columbus crumble? Why was the same phenomenon seen in so many other American cities? And where did all these people go?

I got not a single answer that made any sense. For example, people would say: "they moved to the suburbs." Why? "It was a trend." Indeed. My stepfather, who is a creature not of Ohio but of Washington, was crafty enough to know where this was going. "I used to own a big old house on Capitol Hill," he said. "Do you know what it cost to heat?"

Have you ever heard of a civilized human society, anywhere on the planet, any time in the past, departing from its present location and moving singly or in atoms to another, unless it was in some sense fleeing? Not surprisingly, people did not like being asked this question.

"Urban decay" is a fact. You know urban decay happened, I know urban decay happened, Wikipedia knows urban decay happened. But as the page, obviously authored by some prominent chronicler of the human condition, so poignantly explains:
There is no single cause of urban decay, though it may be triggered by a combination of interrelated factors, including urban planning decisions, tight rent control, poverty, the development of freeways and railway lines, suburbanisation, redlining, immigration restrictions, and racial discrimination.
Perhaps I should edit the page and add heating costs. In other words: why did urban decay happen? It just did. Answer unclear - ask again later.

Our aim today is to restore narrative coherence to the 20th century, ridding it of mystical obfuscations, poltergeists, and winds of change. In UR's 20th century, when things happen, they generally happen for a reason. The reason is generally the obvious reason.

Consider the paradox of the 25th-century historian. To him, which is the more complex century in European history? The 20th, or the 12th? If anything, it must be the 12th. For the student of history is also the student of government. And there were far more independent units of government in Europe in the 12th century, then in the 20th. Which makes for more intricate patterns of interaction. Which makes for more history.

Yet the story of Europe in the 12th century is regularly condensed to a few pages in standard textbooks. While I know more or less nothing at all about the history and historiography of the 12th century, I remain fairly confident that these compressions are decent representations of the period as it actually was. There is no reason for them not to be.

Imagine constructing such a compression of the 20th! How can we explain the 20th century in three pages, when it takes a whole paragraph of causes just to understand urban decay? And yet surely, the historian of the 25th will have no such trouble at all. Therefore, here in the early 21st, we know that there must be a simple explanation of the 20th century. Wikipedia just doesn't know it.

It is our very proximity to the 20th that prevents us from constructing a plain and summarized understanding of it. Obviously, this comes as no surprise to the UR reader. We have trouble understanding the 20th century because we grew up in it, and our brains remain contaminated with its heinous memetic baggage. It is our Orwellian crimestop that prevents us from seeing the plain facts of the matter.

As Deogolwulf once said to me:
Most people think, in the slough of complacency, that it has always been this way. It has not. We see a thorough-going mendacity and a radical evil set free which was barely anticipated in previous ages, and only then was it anticipated by insightful prophets of the kind such as Dostoevsky and Burckhardt who stood at the beginning of this age. This condition of ours is one of those things that gives me pangs of despair. I do wonder if anything good can survive it. It is not just that it sullies art, history, philosophy, science, and any pursuit of truth, but that it destroys truthfulness, which depends above all upon something too old-fashioned and unquantifiable for our times: good character.
The 20th century was the golden age of lies. The liars of the 20th century, like the painters of the 16th, will be remembered forever as the Old Masters of their art. I know UR has many readers who are Christians or Jews, and sometimes I even regret my own inability to believe in God. But no one who knows anything about the 20th century can fail to believe in the Devil.

Lies are like snowflakes. Every lie is its own unique, perfect self. It is no more possible to list all possible kinds of lie, than all possible kinds of magic trick, or all possible patterns of camouflage. Each is defined only by its goal: misdirecting the mind of the audience. Producing the illusion of a reality that is not real, and obscuring the reality that is.

Every nation in the 20th century produced masterpieces of mendacity. Here is one, from Last Train from Berlin (1942), by the New Deal journalist Howard K. Smith. Bear in mind: Smith is observing the Nazi and Soviet regimes at a point in time at which the former has not committed millions of political murders, and the latter has.
On first glance, Germany [in 1936] was overwhelmingly attractive, and first impressions disarmed many a hardy anti-Nazi before he could lift his lance for attack. Its big cities were cleaner than big cities ought, by custom, to be. You could search far and wide through Berlin's sea of houses or Hamburg's huge harbour district, but you could never find a slum or anything approaching one. On the countryside, broad, flourishing acres were cut into neat checkerboards. People looked good. Nobody was in rags, not a single citizen. They were well dressed, if not stylishly dressed. And they were well fed. The impression was one of order, cleanliness and prosperity - and this has been of immense propaganda value to the Nazis.

There is a great fallacy here, and it is a mistake which an unfortunately large number of young American students I met in Heidelberg made and retained for a long time. The fallacy is in connecting this admirable order, cleanliness and apparent prosperity with the Nazi government. Actually, and this was pointed out to me by a German dock-worker on my first magic day in Bremen, Germans and Germany were neat, clean and able to do an amazing lot with amazingly little long before Hitler came to power. Such slums as existed were removed by the Socialist government and replaced with neat workers' apartments while the Nazis were still a noisy minority chalking swastikas on back-alley fences.
[...]
Once, however, I broke my routine and took a trip to Russia. That land impressed me disgustingly favorably for a individual who was still more Liberal than Socialist. Contrary to the development of my reactions in Germany, Russia looked better the longer I stayed and the more I saw. Russia was not neat, clean, and orderly. Russia was dirty and disorderly.

But the spirit of the thing got me. The Bolsheviks did not inherit cleanliness and order; they inherited a wrecked feudal society, and in a relatively short period wonders had been done. The edges were rough and the effort was amateur. But that was just it; it was amateur, everybody was doing it. You got the impression that each and every little individual was feeling pretty important doing the pretty important job of building up a State, eager and interested as a bunch of little boys turned loose in a locomotive and told to do as they please. It showed promise like a gifted child's first scratchings of "a house" on paper. Klein aber mein; a little but mine own, as the proverb goes.

What is more, the standard of living was definitely rising, not falling. The whole picture was not as pretty as the German one, but the atmosphere, utterly devoid of any trace of militarism or racial prejudice, was clean and healthy as the streets were dirty. I knew all along the atmosphere reminded me of a word, but I couldn't think what it was until I got back to Germany. The word was "democracy." That, I know, is a strange reaction to a country which is well known to be a dictatorship, but the atmosphere simply did not coincide with the newspapers' verdict.
The quality of this propaganda is beyond comparison. Goebbels had talent - there is no denying it. But as a patriotic American, I believe our product is a step beyond.

If there are two words that summarize the above, perhaps they are sincere mendacity. Perhaps not all the journalists of the New Deal, or their heirs of today, were (while not of good character) perfectly sincere. But at worst, even when they consciously lied, they thought of themselves as conveying a higher truth. And when they lied they did so as individuals, not cogs in a machine. Goebbels, who was more or less the pope of Nazi Germany, is not in the building.

The result is a wonderfully chummy tone. You are grateful to your friend, Howard K. Smith, for seeing beyond the simplistic, superficial appearance of Nazi prosperity and Soviet barbarism, and helping you feel the deep and subtle reality of Nazi incompetence and Soviet democracy.

The Smiths of today omit the first-glance impression of Nazi Germany, but in 1942 this was not possible. Let's be clear on the facts: while German meticulousness is not a myth, the transition from Weimar to Third Reich was indeed responsible for much of the "admirable order, cleanliness and apparent prosperity." This probably does not change your mind about Nazis, Nazism, or Hitler. And nor is it intended to. It is not a point much stressed these days, that's all.

Good primary sources are more essential than ever for anyone seeking an accurate impression of prewar Nazism. For a fair anti-Nazi source, try Stephen Roberts' House that Hitler Built (1937). For a fair pro-Nazi source, try Francis Yeats-Brown's European Jungle (1939).

Both these books will leave you seeing the Third Reich in color. But if you are satisfied with black and white, a modern history (I like Michael Burleigh's) of the Third Reich is perfectly acceptable.

My perception is that the portrait of Nazi Germany we get from Howard K. Smith, his uniformly synoptic colleagues, and of course their present-day successors, is basically accurate - in analysis as in facts. They portray National Socialism as fundamentally demonic, and indeed it was. In this, they are right and their opponents are wrong. In other things...

The easy error is the assumption that because National Socialism was demonic, its enemies were not. Smith's portrait of Russia is a brief masterpiece of sincere mendacity. Since truth plus fiction equals fiction, the whole - even with its fresh, clean Germany - becomes an even more staggering masterpiece, enhanced rather than disqualified by its factual fraction.

The New Deal's picture of the Soviet system has since been corrected, of course. Its picture of the American system has not. And no prizes are available for guessing which category the latter fits.

Thus the standard story of the 20th century includes one set of actors which are portrayed accurately (the fascist regimes), one set which was portrayed inaccurately but has since been repaired with the assistance of whiteout (the revolutionary regimes), and one set whose mythos remains gloriously intact (the democratic regimes). From this stew, clarity is not to be expected.

The reactionary student of history has a great advantage here. To the Nazis, the Soviets and the New Dealers alike, "reactionary" was a term of abuse. The pre-1918 regimes can be described as reactionary, but proto-fascist tropes are also easy to see in them. Every trope of Hitlerism can be found in Wilhelmine Germany. Here, too, the New Dealers are right.

So in the 20th century, the reactionary is without dog in the fight. The reactionary review of the 20th century is obvious: a criminal tragedy, with some comic notes.

And while not all the crimes in this tragedy were committed by democrats, democracy is indeed its prime and ultimate cause. It is not a coincidence that the century of murder and the century of democracy were one and the same. Perhaps the only one to predict this was - no surprise - Carlyle, in Shooting Niagara (1867):
All the Millenniums I ever heard of heretofore were to be preceded by a “chaining of the Devil for a thousand years,” — laying him up, tied neck and heels, and put beyond stirring, as the preliminary. You too have been taking preliminary steps, with more and more ardour, for a thirty years back; but they seem to be all in the opposite direction: a cutting asunder of straps and ties, wherever you might find them; pretty indiscriminate of choice in the matter: a general repeal of old regulations, fetters, and restrictions (restrictions on the Devil originally, I believe, for most part, but now fallen slack and ineffectual), which had become unpleasant to many of you, — with loud shouting from the multitude, as strap after strap was cut, “Glory, glory, another strap is gone!" [...] And in fact, THE DEVIL (he, verily, if you will consider the sense of words) is likewise become an Emancipated Gentleman; lithe of limb as in Adam and Eve’s time, and scarcely a toe or finger of him tied any more. And you, my astonishing friends, you are certainly getting into a millennium, such as never was before, — hardly even in the dreams of Bedlam.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Here at UR, we always try to complete the trial before delivering the verdict. So: the 20th century.

It is easy to explain the 20th century. The story is simple, because it is a conflict of armed doctrines, rather than of human personalities. Even the personalities of Hitler and Stalin can be abstracted into their armed doctrines. It is not possible to imagine the 17th century with a French king other than Louis XIV, but it is possible to imagine Nazi Germany with a Fuehrer who wasn't Hitler.

On the democratic side, the "leaders" are almost figureheads, and the actors are almost interchangeable. They are classified rather than named. For example, I am not sure precisely what I mean when I describe someone like Howard K. Smith as a "New Deal journalist." But I know his tone is the same as that of Leland Stowe, or Quentin Reynolds, or John Gunther. Or that of James Reston, C.L. Sulzberger, or Herbert Matthews.

The major armed doctrines in the Second German War, for instance, were Universalism, Nazism and Bolshevism. These can easily be taken as examples of the class: democratic, revolutionary, and counter-revolutionary. We consider these in reverse order.

A counter-revolutionary is anyone who fights against revolution. This category can be divided roughly into three parts: reactionary, conservative, and fascist.

Since I am a reactionary, I decline to discuss the creed here. Suffice it to say that reactionaries are always right. And there were few enough in the 20th century that we can ignore them.

A conservative is someone who helps disguise the true nature of a democratic state. The conservative is ineffective by definition, because his goal is to make democracy work properly. The fact that it does not work properly, has never worked properly, and will never work properly, sails straight over his head. He therefore labors cheerfully as a tool for his enemies.

As for a fascist: you know all about fascists. If you want to know anything about fascists, ask a liberal. He will tell you instantly, and he will be right. No regime has ever labored so diligently or so long over the crimes of its defunct foes.

Since there is a bit of misinformation mixed in with the truth, however, I should go into at least some detail.

Basically, fascism is the rightmost end of the tradition that in British politics is called Tory Democracy. It is perfectly legitimate to compare Sarah Palin to Hitler, for example. While they are obviously very different figures, both can be described as Tory democrats. The same can even be said of William Pitt, a threesome that would make an interesting panel discussion. And an even more interesting threesome.

The basic method of Tory democracy is to appeal to the masses to support a non-democratic, ie reactionary, form of government. The basic problem of Tory democracy is that the masses suck. Therefore, if you practice Tory democracy, your movement is liable to become contaminated with all sorts of heinous nonsense, such as anti-Semitism.

The American conservative movement practices the most rigorous possible message control to avoid this fate. It has no enemies to the left, and no friends to the right. And still, it is not enough. It is permanently tarred with the brush of Hitler, just like the old prewar Republican Party, the party of Taft and Vandenberg and Borah and Bricker, of which it is the faint, pathetic ghost. This was the party of the Schofields, of Olde Towne Easte, and like them it is no more.

The old world of Biedermeier, of Central European haute-bourgeois aristocracy, is exactly as dead. But there were many attempts to preserve it, and fascism was one. Conditions are ripe for fascism when there exists an old tradition which is in the process of being destroyed by democracy, but has not yet quite been destroyed. The half-recreated fascist tradition is half reactionary, half democratic, and all nasty.

If you want to see fascism in its pre-Nazi state, take a look at Friedrich von Bernhardi's Germany and The Next War (1911):
The struggle for existence is, in the life of Nature, the basis of all healthy development. All existing things show themselves to be the result of contesting forces. So in the life of man the struggle is not merely the destructive, but the life-giving principle. "To supplant or to be supplanted is the essence of life," says Goethe, and the strong life gains the upper hand.
Hitler was a genius, I admit, but he wasn't smart enough to have actually invented this swill. And why does it appear in Germany around this time? And Russia, and Austria-Hungary? Because all three are being democratized, and jingoism is an excellent way to appeal to the masses against the elite. It works in Britain too, by the way.

When fascism ascends to power, it creates a coherent central authority (good) which is not responsible in any way (bad), maintains itself in power by indocrinating its subjects (bad), and practices unnecessary and sadistic violence (bad). Thus we have one good and three bads, which makes bad. It is not surprising that fascism is generally considered bad.

However, since we have one good, it is not surprising that it can accomplish good as well. For example, it is just the bee's knees for crime, and may even be the least of two evils. Mussolini did a fine job with the Mafia. Imagine him in Mexico now.

The most gross misstatement about fascism presently understood, however, is that the Axis constituted a plot to take over the world. It is truly amazing that people believe this today, for there is no evidence for it whatsoever. However, most historians simply treat it as a given.

If you want an accurate military history of the Second German War and its aftermath, which is also a primary source, I recommend Albert Wedemeyer's memoir on the American side, and Erich von Manstein's on the German. Both dispense with this myth, giving it exactly the short shrift it deserves.

Manstein, for instance, points out that Hitler never displayed any emotional interest in going to war with England, even after he was at war with England. Hitler was a man of extremely fixed ideas. These ideas are all set down in Mein Kampf. One of these ideas was that Germany needed to expand to the east. Another was that it needed to have England as a friend. And obviously, he wasn't getting to America unless he went through England (or both Russia and Japan).

For example: if the Axis was a plot to take over the world, why did Japan never attack Russia? Answer? Because Japan and Germany were acting as independent, sovereign nations. They were not acting under any kind of central command, and they had no great trust in each other. They just happened to have similar forms of government and had signed a few token pacts of understanding.

That was the whole point of the war: a rebellion. Japan and Nazi Germany fought because they wanted to be independent, as did Imperial Germany. They lost, so they became provinces in a world empire. That's how it goes.

Whereas the Allies were already acting as a single world authority, which was called the "United Nations" even during the war. Ergo: what we are seeing here is a good old case of projection.

If you have a plan to govern the world - not, of course, to win total world domination, but to strive for comprehensive global governance - and you go to war with someone, by definition, he too has a plan for total world domination. Inasmuch as you lose, he wins. Therefore, once the Second German War was started, someone had to win it, and I'm glad the Allies did.

On the other hand, the Second German War - as well as the First - looks a lot more like a rebellion against said single world authority. The conquest between America plus Britain plus Russia, and anyone else, is not and cannot be a conquest of equals.

And world authority was certainly in the air. Read H.G. Wells' Open Conspiracy, for example. Wells was not at all a marginal figure. Benjamin Franklin Trueblood was a marginal figure, and his Federation of the World (1899) was nothing a dozen other writers weren't saying, but his work is still great fun, in a tragic sort of way. Don't miss chapter 10, "The United States of the World."

As Trueblood puts it:
The question of the peace of the world, universal and perpetual, is now one of the uppermost in all thoughtful minds. Even those who do not believe that such a state of human society is desirable or realizable are compelled to struggle with the idea. Universal peace, which seemed a little while ago the dream of disordered brains, has suddenly transformed itself into the waking vision of the soberest and clearest of intellects. This world-peace, the signs of whose coming are now many and unmistakable, will not be established between men and nations as so many separate units or groups, standing apart with different and unshared interests, agreeing to let each other alone and to respect each other's rights at a distance. Such a peace, even if it were possible, would be at best only a negative one, having little vitality and little power for good. Universal peace will come rather through federation and cooperation.
"Agreeing to let each other alone and to respect each other's rights at a distance" is, of course, the principle of the old school of nations, the reactionary school, who practiced the forms that used to pass under the strange name of "international law." You can still find these old laws - in Vattel, in Polson, in Davis - and interesting reading they make, indeed. The world they are describing is not the world we live in.

And it certainly isn't be the Imperial Germany of the World! As Trueblood muses at one point:
But when arbitration has at last come into general and permanent use throughout the civilized world, as there is every reason to believe that it will after a generation or two, then these great military establishments with all their abominations will come to an end. The end of them may come suddenly, as the result of a great war, or a series of great wars, the disastrous results of which will be so deeply and universally felt that the nations will never again permit militarism to take root and grow.
Indeed. A prescient prediction! Note, however, that causality and prediction are easily mistaken for one another. Similarly, John Gunther's Inside Europe (1936) describes its subject as "between the wars." Perhaps the lady doth protest too much.

From Trueblood, George Herron's Menace of Peace (1917), with its hilariously over-the-top anti-Teutonism, is not far off. I will not excerpt this book. It must be read in its totality. But suffice it to say that Woodrow Wilson employed Herron - as a peace emissary. Some peace!

Herron is good for laughs, but a more serious successor is Ramsay Muir, whose Expansion of Europe (1916) has a wonderful explanation of the principle of "blue imperialism" that would develop, through weird transatlantic osmosis, into Foggy Bottom's present aid-ocracy, operated not on the principle of dominion but that of dependence:
The words ' Empire ' and ' Imperialism' come to us from ancient Rome; and the analogy between the conquering and organising work of Rome and the empire-building work of the modern nation-states is a suggestive and stimulating analogy. The imperialism of Rome extended the modes of a single civilisation, and the Reign of Law which is its essence, over all the Mediterranean lands. The imperialism of the nations to which the torch of Rome has been handed on, has made the Reign of Law, and the modes of a single civilisation, the common possession of the whole world. Rome made the common life of Europe possible. The imperial expansion of the European nations has alone made possible the vision—nay, the certainty—of a future world unity. For these reasons we may rightly and without hesitation continue to employ these terms, provided that we remember always that the aim of a sane imperialism is not the extension of mere brute power, but is the enlargement and diffusion, under the shelter of power, of the essentials of Western civilisation: rational law and liberty. It is by its success or failure in attaining these ends that we shall commend or condemn the imperial work of each of the nations which have shared in this vast achievement.
"Mere brute power," as the reader of Herron might expect, turns out to be the German principle of imperialism. We also must note that there was more than a bit of brute power in the old British Empire, which organism did not survive its passing. Imperialism seems to have something to do with military domination after all. Who'd of thunk it? Not the Romans, surely.

Finally, it is incumbent on us to consider the actual origins of the First German War. What happened was: Britain was the sponsor of France, France was the sponsor of Russia, and Russia was the sponsor of Serbia.

Serbia started behaving very badly - by Vattel's standards. There is no doubt that the Serbian cabinet was an accessory before the fact to Sarajevo. (Try Sidney Fay's Origins of the World War.) In Vattel's world, Austria had every right to invade Serbia, and it was none of anyone's business. Certainly not Britain's!

In Benjamin Franklin Trueblood's world, of course, it was incumbent on Austria to make peace before making war. I can't help noticing that Benjamin Franklin Trueblood's world, now that we have it and all, (a) doesn't have a whole lot of peace, and (b) does have a whole lot of terrorists. Perhaps this is not a coincidence.

The general behavior of Britain and the Entente before the First German War was to provoke Germany in every way possible, but to make the result appear as if Germany was itself acting unstably and aggressively. The unsurpassed chronicle of this story, for its brilliant writing as well as its early date, is Francis Neilson's How Diplomats Make War (1915). I will not excerpt this. Read the whole thing. It is timeless.

Neilson was a friend of the great Albert Jay Nock, with a similar writing style. Like Nock he was a Georgist, which occasionally produces a slight kooky effect. But he was also an MP who in a Britain of another day would have been in high office - an unbelievably learned and expressive man, after the time of his institution. If you really want to immerse yourself in the Second German War, go through interlibrary loan and get Neilson's almost-unobtainable 5-volume diary of the war, The Tragedy of Europe. It is unsurpassed. Neilson is constantly wrong in his analysis, in all the little things - and right about almost everything big.

The origins of the Second German War are somewhat more debatable. However, they originate in the Treaty of Versailles, which originated in theories of history which by the 1930s had become discredited among scholars. Most responsible statesmen agreed that the confiscation of German territory by the French client states of the Little Entente, Czechoslovakia (which you may search for on a map today) and Poland, was unjust.

Therefore, we may consult our Vattel and reason that Germany had every right, under classical international law, to go to war with Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, or anywhere else. The fact that Nazi Germany invaded Poland does not, believe it or not, imply that its next step would have been to invade Brazil. Frederick the Great invaded Silesia in the 18th century, and he made no claims whatsoever to Brazil.

Fascism existed in a world of Benjamin Franklin Truebloods, who were attempting to replace Vattel with Benjamin Franklin Trueblood. Dangerous itself, it had dangerous enemies. It did not attack the democracies unprovoked. Like the Confederates, who were more than a little fascist themselves, its attacks - even those of Hitler - can be seen as a case of "fear biting." Hitler would have accepted unconditional peace with America and Britain at any time.

While we are discussing misconceptions, another common misconception which is seldom uttered, but often assumed, is that the Allies entered the war to save the Jews from Hitler.

At least, the Allies often seem to get credit for this, although factually we know that (a) they had no interest in saving Jews before the war, (b) no interest in saving Jews during the war, and indeed (c) preferred not to mention Jews at all.

The Jews of the New Deal were Universalist and assimilationist, not Zionist - they were not even particularly fond of the backward, Yiddish-speaking Jews that Hitler was killing. (If you hear the word "jargon" used to refer to Yiddish, you know you are in the presence of a German Jew whose nose needs breaking.) In fact, far from it being Allied propaganda, the New York Times actually covered up the Aktion Reinhard. But the guilty flee where no man pursueth, and tremble when accused of offenses they have not committed.

The Aktion Reinhard is not even really part of the history of the Second German War, because it had almost no impact on that war. It was not used as propaganda until after the war was over. It is best considered as the first event in postwar history. And indeed, entire histories have been written around it. It is no exaggeration to call it Hitler's greatest gift to his followers.

We here at UR are not in the business of ranking political murders or murderers, so we will respectfully decline the implicit invitation to compare Hitler to Stalin, Genghis Khan, etc, etc. We can just say that none of them were nice guys, and the same is true of FDR. But at least FDR left a corpse that someday could be dug up and hanged, like Cromwell.

So this is fascism: a dangerous and aggressive movement, with even more dangerous and aggressive enemies. I'm afraid there are not a lot of good guys in this awful century, the 20th.

And fortunately, the other two groups are the same discussion. Revolutionary doctrines are best seen as a subclass of the more important democratic class. A revolutionary democracy is one in which power changes hands through violence. Otherwise, the two are the same form, and they will generally be found in alliance.

For example, in my survey of Soviet Life back issues, it became immediately clear to me that the Soviet 19th century and our 19th century were the same century - the same laundry list of democratic heroes is celebrated.

(If you need a prequel to the 20th century and you are only allowed one book, perhaps that should be C.B. Roylance Kent's The English Radicals, A Historical Sketch (1899). The Radicals of the 19th century, English and otherwise, are indeed these great progenitors. And a sorry lot they are - when the sketcher is not a Radical.)

Moreover, this relationship did not end like clockwork in 1900, or in any other year. The official sentiment of kinship between the Western democratic establishment and the Soviet Union, though often imperiled by the latter's various heinous crimes, was never really severed - not even in 1947, with the Anglo-Soviet split. Simple proof of this fact is the extreme variation in Anglo-American treatment of the national socialist and international socialist regimes.

If you care to see the Soviet side of this continuing relationship, you could try reading the memoir of Alexander Feklisov, who was or at least claims to have been the handler for many KGB agents in USG before 1947. These agents - by Feklisov's own description - were not the same types of people as the random low-life losers, like Aldrich Ames, who we remember from Newsweek articles.

No. They were people like Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Laurence Duggan, and perhaps even Harry Hopkins, and they were at the center of the New Deal state. It is simply inconceivable that these people were in any sense spies, or that they concealed anything from FDR. They were his direct agents. These contacts must have been authorized informally at the highest level, and they must have been considered a normal backchannel by those who participated in them.

Governments everywhere operate in a conspiratorial style. Ie: they keep secrets. Often they keep secrets even from their own employees, or some subset thereof. This requires activities that appear nefarious. Since they are authorized, however, they are not nefarious at all. At least not in the context of FDR's regime, which was one of personal authority at the top.

However, since they are authorized, they are no less official. Therefore, the regime can be held responsible for them, as for all its official acts. (It can also be held responsible for its official sins of omission, but that's another post.)

The relationship between the democratic bloc and the revolutionary bloc is like the relationship between an Appalachian father, Bobby Ray, and his teenage son Dwight. Dwight is a hard case, no doubt about it. Bobby Ray does not condone his activities in the slightest. In fact, the two are even found screaming at each other and a few times have come to blows. Sometimes they don't talk for months, and once Bobby Ray once hit Dwight so hard with an axe handle, he broke the axe handle.

But Bobby Ray and Dwight are family. You know, if the revenuers come, Bobby Ray and Dwight will be standing together. It is true that Dwight done shot that man down in Campbell County, but Bobby Ray obviously is not concerned in that. And besides, he deserved it.

For example, Herbert Hoover, in his biography of Woodrow Wilson, notes that:
During the Armistice all of the Allied and Associated Powers were involved in supporting attacks by "White" armies against the Soviet Government. In Siberia, the United States and Japan were supporting the White Army of General Kolchak. From the Black Sea, the British and French were supporting the White Armies of Generals Denikin and Wrangel. The Allies, including the United States, had taken Murmansk on the Arctic to prevent large stores of munitions, sent to aid the Kerensky regime, from reaching the Communists. Later the British supported a White Army under General Yudenich in an attack directed at Petrograd from the Northern Baltic.

The British and French exerted great pressure on Mr. Wilson for Americans to join in a general attack on Moscow. General Foch drew up plans for such an attack. Winston Churchill, representing the British Cabinet, appeared before the Big Four on February 14, 1919, and demanded a united invasion of Russia.
The Americans then experience a sudden change of heart. Not only that, they ponder the large war debts owed by their allies to them. In an internal note by Tasker Bliss:
It is perfectly well known that every nation in Europe, except England, is bankrupt, and that England would become bankrupt if she engaged on any considerable scale in such a venture.
Ie: "Hey, can you guys really afford that?" Hoover himself supplies additional reasons, in a letter to Wilson (bear in mind that Hoover had considerable experience as an engineer in Czarist Russia):
We have also to... [consider], what would actually happen if we undertook military intervention. We should probably be involved in years of police duty, and our first act would probably in the nature of things make us a party with the Allies to re-establishing the reactionary classes. It also requires consideration as to whether or not our people at home would stand for our providing power by which such reactionaries held their position. Furthermore, we become a junior in this partnership of four. It is therefore inevitable that we would find ourselves subordinated and even committed to politics against our convictions.
In other words: no way is the Light of Democracy, the Republic of Eagles, going to help put the old Baltic barons back in charge. Time's arrow has moved on, baby. The wind of change is blown. The great experiment must commence.

And indeed, the British and French pulled their support and the Whites were slaughtered. (Many of the Whites were more brown than white at this point, anyway. Hitler was not the inventor of anti-Semitism.) The Soviet Union was the world's first pure progressive state, although its violent succession and lack of free elections places it in the revolutionary, rather than democratic, category.

Although the US did not recognize the Soviet Union until (obviously) 1933, there were strong ties of friendship well before then, just as there remained such ties after 1947. Alger Hiss and his ilk obviously would have felt quite self-righteous in feeling that they were being prosecuted for a policy that was official when carried out. Nor would they have betrayed this secret. They were, after all, honorable men.

The truth is that, from an ideological level at least, the revolutionary states are best considered as American client states. They are very different from normal client states, such as France (I take it as understood that the USG of today has clients, satellites or puppets, not friends, allies or neighbors).

The normal client state can be described as a total client - it is friendly with all important elements in the sponsor state. The revolutionary states were (and are) partial clients - they are friendly with some elements in the sponsor state, and hostile (often to the point of actual war) to others.

The hostile elements are typically the problem of the friendly elements, and the client at the very least diverts their energy. Thus, the relationship is profitable to the sponsor. In return, the client needs the sponsor, because the friendly elements protect him from the wrath of the hostile elements. Thus the relationship is symbiotic, and can continue for decades.

So, when you ask: why were there American soldiers in Russia in 1919, anyway, if what Hoover says is true? The answer is the same in all cases. They were fighting a partial war. They were not intended to win, and in fact they didn't. This, too, is not an isolated event. Nor is the demise of the regimes who made the mistake of getting to the right of American "public opinion."

So, for example, during the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Stalin did not become an enemy, like Mussolini, or even a neutral under intense pressure, like Franco. He was a loved friend who had made a terrible mistake. America's goal in interacting with Stalin during the years of the Pact was, as usual, to convince him of American friendship and woo him back to sanity.

So, for example, after the demise of the Soviet Union, everyone (including me) expected the world to enter a millennium of peace. Fat chance. The evolutionary niche was unoccupied, and the next-generation neo-revolutionary regimes of Iran, Venezuela, etc, have arisen to fill it - not to mention that wonderful fossil, North Korea.

For the New Dealer and his successors, the world-straddling geniuses of Foggy Bottom, the rule for handling a partial client is simple: whenever it does something bad, the only solution is to placate it. You will note that this is also the recipe for generating the worst possible teenager. This is not anyone's conscious decision, as usual, but I would not describe it as a coincidence.

In contrast, the rule toward actual enemies is simple: press them as hard as possible, threatening constantly, never taking yes for an answer, always responding to some new concession with some new demand, never being afraid to use violence, and always going for the jugular when the jugular is in sight.

In the second half of the 20th century, actual warfare was generally unnecessary - countries such as Rhodesia, South Africa and (early in the 21st) Israel were easily intimidated into suicide. And Rhodesia was the only true enemy nation - USG had strong friends in both South Africa and Israel, these people being of course citizens of the world. It can have partial enemies, just as it can have partial friends.

The reason that since 1945 we have not seen USG fighting to its right - where it fights without mercy - is simply that it has no true enemies, having defeated them all. Thus, we never get to see its real fangs. It is only in a historical sense that they even exist. Nonetheless, it is a fundamentally carnivorous organism, and I suspect its lack of prey is a major cause of its present difficulties.

Therefore, what we discover today is that the Democrats are right: transnational bureaucracy is the true spirit of USG and of American democracy. Even the governments of Europe, conquered, occupied and reconstructed right down to the brains of their subjects' children in 1945, are more pure expressions of the American political spirit, of democracy itself, than is found in America itself. This is completely normal with an exported ideology. However, the purest, most refined, and most American form is transnational bureaucracy. And the Soviet Union was no more than American democracy in Russian translation.

It is actually the counterrevolutionary forces in America - the conservatives, the Christians, the "Amerikaners" - who are the most un-American of Americans. They have spontaneously reinvented old European forms of government. For example, while America is a Protestant country by descent, Christianity of the salvationist or "born-again" flavor is a dead ringer for the niche of Catholicism: it satisfies the natural human craving for discipline, obedience and spiritual authority. I'm not saying it's good, but it works, sort of.

Also, while conservatives believe in democracy, they believe that democracy is best used as a tool to make the government act less like a democracy, ie, to not be socialist. Socialism is the stable state of democracy, for obvious reasons. By making the people universally dependent on the State, their minds as well as their bodies can be controlled. The conservative thus spends his time agitating for un-democratic policies in a democracy - his goal is reactionary democracy. Obviously, if the People can be made reactionary and persuaded to stay that way, this works. But one could just as easily invest one's efforts in inventing water that isn't wet.

(Hey, I never said this wouldn't hurt your head.)

Our interpretation rather absolves Mr. Hiss and his ilk, personally, of collaboration with the crimes of Stalin. But unfortunately, it transfers that responsibility onto the New Deal itself.

The Anglo-American progressive establishment, having spawned the Bolshevik monster in their minds, inflicted it on the chief backwater of Europe, shielded it from its foes in its youth, and fed it money and equipment, not to mention lives and territories, in its prime. It is therefore indicted, on the good general principle of Roman law in which the master is responsible for the deeds of his servant, for the crimes of the Soviet Union.

That it never actually ordered the murders at Katyn, for example, is not particularly relevant. It arguably made them possible. It is certainly an accessory after the fact, because it accused the Nazis of having perpetrated them, while knowingly closing its eyes to the truth.

And if you want to know how I can put USG in the same category as the Third Reich, that is my answer. I consider view both criminal regimes which history will rejoice to see abolished, because I feel that Washington can no less escape the crimes of Moscow than the Wehrmacht can escape the crimes of the SS.

Also, this is convenient because it obviates any conversations about strategic bombing, German prisoners of war, etc. Instead, we get a laundry list of gigantic barbarities: the ethnic cleansing of the Ostdeutsche, the Ukrainian famine, the Gulag, etc, etc. All of these are the crimes of socialism. And socialism and democracy are one thing. Case closed.

Nor is the motive mysterious. During the Second German War, the New Deal became a true one-party state. Its enemies were not simply defeated. They were barred from legitimate political or intellectual occupations for life, and this ban was not revoked at the end of the war. (Consider the case of John T. Flynn. Then, read his Roosevelt Myth.) Indeed, this descent from freedom of speech is the ancestor of our modern political correctness.

With the Nazis and the Japanese, everything that was not Universalist - everything counterrevolutionary, everything old - went down in flames. Even if it was not physically destroyed, it simply became unfashionable. An aristocracy is not an aristocracy unless it is both good and powerful, and if it loses its power it rapidly ceases to become good. And that power ended up in Washington, courtesy of Benjamin Franklin Trueblood.

This is true even in the US itself, which has no true reactionary elite and has had none for quite some time. The postwar American conservative movement is a 1950s forgery - not unlike the fake Presidential candidate of 1940, Wendell Willkie, who was a Democrat until the year before the "election." If you don't realize that this party is fraudulent by 2009, there may be no hope for you. It is not and has never been a real opposition. It should disband itself at once.

Moreover, since the publication of George Victor's extremely convincing Pearl Harbor Myth, it has become clear that the long-bruited rumors of FDR's prior awareness of Pearl Harbor are quite simply true. (If you doubt this book, just go to "Search Inside" and look at the back cover. And yes, this is the exception.)

Victor's book is also unusual because he is a supporter of FDR. He believes that governments must sometimes act in Machiavellian ways, and he thinks USG did the right thing in going to war with Nazi Germany. The same can be said of Thomas Mahl, whose Desperate Deception recounts the assistance of British Security Coordination, accounting for two whole floors of Rockefeller Center, in getting the US into the war - by every dirty trick imaginable, including forgery of public documents and political warfare against American politicians, all with FDR's clear blessing.

Moreover, even if Victor's controversial hypothesis is not true, it is quite clear that the US intentionally provoked Japan into war in order to enter the Second German War. See the best book of how and why the US entered the war, Back Door to War by the diplomatic historian Charles Callan Tansill. For all those who complain of Bush's illegal war in Iraq, thou shalt complain no longer. See, how UR hath quieted your frets.

All this is no more than the normal operating procedure of a criminal regime. Its misdemeanors are as miserable as its felonies are appalling. USG must atone for these deeds, and it can only atone with its life. Its employees, however, should receive unconditional amnesty - it is the ideology and the institutions, not the individuals, that must be held responsible.)

I refuse to admit that a criminal sovereign can subsequently become legitimate without at least some substantial breach in symbolic continuity. It is not the deeds that trouble me - power is always bloody. It is the lies. Moreover, now is always a better time than later.

The fundamental argument on which USG rests its present legitimacy and its claims to "world leadership" is its moral supremacy. It has none. Indeed, as we will see, it has less than none. Far from saving the world, USG has wrecked it. The least it can do is apologize and go home.

There is a traditional analogy, not much used in the 20th century, which perhaps can be adapted to tell us the story of the 20th century in one little anecdote. Let me give it a shot.

The upas-tree, as is well known, kills all animals which approach it. What's less well-known is that it kills all the trees around it, as well. (It needs a clear space in which to hunt.) This un-neighborly result is the effect of a toxin which the upas-tree's roots secrete.

But the upas-tree itself is not immune to its own toxin. It is just more resistant than its neighbors. When they are dead, it itself is merely dying. But it must succumb all the same. For it was not evolution, but grim destiny, that designed the upas-tree.

In case it's not obvious, in the reactionary version of the 20th century, the upas-tree is America and its toxin is democracy. Thus we see the same result: American democracy is the last philosophy standing. Not because it is sweet, but just because it is more lethal to its neighbors than itself.

What underlying pattern produces the upas-tree effect? There's actually a simple and appealing answer. Democracy looks just like the memetic equivalent of an invasive, parasitic species.

The parasite's native habitat is most resistant to it. The Anglo-American countries are the most resistant to democracy, because they are the native habitat of democracy. They thus harbor not only the roots of democracy and its most diverse expressions, but also its most potent natural enemies. Thus they degrade slowly without any sudden descents into anarchy.

In the presence of said enemies, political pluralism is a chronic, degenerative, probably still terminal, but slow and manageable condition. When this parasite jumps to another species of tree, however, it meets no defenses, and the victim shrivels, blackens and burns overnight. So the same effect is seen when kudzu jumps from Japan to Arkansas, as when democracy jumps from England to France.

The international democratic movement predates 1900, of course. It predates America herself. The leftist or democratic tradition in Anglo-American history is almost four hundred years old. If you read Hobbes' Behemoth ('Or, The Long Parliament'), it'll pop right out at you in 3-D. Our upas-tree is indeed of considerable antiquity, and it was toxic from the very cotyledon.

Whereas in the democratic version of the 20th century, all this death and destruction is the fault of the enemies of democracy. Therefore, the experience of the 20th century demonstrates that human civilization can no longer tolerate the existence of nondemocratic states - since they caused all this death and destruction. Flawless logic!

And so we see democracy conquer the world and produce an outbreak of peace. At least in those areas properly conquered by democracy. Is it ill-mannered to note that the conquests of Genghis Khan had exactly the same result? To conquer is to pacify. The fact tells you nothing.

Basically, the self-interpretation of Universalism today is that America conquered the world in self-defense. Which may be, but it sounds strangely. We also are to understand that America conquered the rest of the world for its own benefit. Again, perfectly plausible.

But did it benefit? Actually? Did anyone? Actually?

Consider the world of Penrod. This book is really a must read, not for the hapless Penrod Schofield, but for the quality of Tarkington's writing, and the wonderful rendering of the world in which Penrod lives.

The world of Penrod is the world of Olde Towne Easte, or at least those who once lived in those mansions. Tarkington himself was an Indiana man, but it's all the same. Fake to begin with - but not without a certain grandeur, acquired through time and tradition. It is as gone as Caesar's ghost. What killed it? The same thing that killed everything else. USG.

The world of 2009 is the root-ball of one ancient gigantic, shaggy and rotting redwood: the Anglo-American tradition we call Universalism. In the redwood's shade are the seedlings she has thrown among the blackened stumps at her feet. Some of them have prospered and some have not. Some have even evolved a little, but all began as redwood seeds.

In a typical Orwellian fabrication, we call the "nations" of the UN era independent countries. Most are American satellites at best, possessions at worst. Even those that have recreated something like sovereignty, Russia and China, are sterile and uninteresting upstarts, with no real relationship to the old-growth civilizations of the Romanovs or the Ch'ing. Europe also contains some genuine trees, though their independence is questionable and their individuality is nil. They are pallid clones of Massachusetts, planted in grim, mechanical rows. Latin America is a shambles - a festering sink of crime, tyranny and disorder. Africa makes it look healthy.

And everywhere, everywhere - except of course the Anglo-Saxon core - tyranny and rebellion, war and destruction, anarchy and murder, dragged their plow at least once across the land. And not always once. For many, they remain permanent conditions of normal life.

Consider this, which the Times in a strange War Nerd moment plays, almost, for laughs:
BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau — Just after sunset, the general got up from under his favorite mango tree. As he climbed toward his second-floor office, a remote-controlled bomb under the staircase exploded, crumpling the building’s flank into a jumble of rubble.

His nemesis, the president, died less than 12 hours later, after heavily armed men fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the front door of his house. They shot and hacked to death the man who had ruled this tiny West African nation for 23 of its 35 years of existence, leaving behind sprays of blood, a rusty machete and bullet casings.

In almost any other place in the world, the death of a democratically elected president and the chief of the armed forces would be met with horror. But in this former Portuguese colony, the brutal murders of President João Bernardo Vieira and Gen. Batista Tagme Na Waie have been greeted with not just equanimity but optimism.

“Good riddance to both of them,” said Armando Mango, a lawyer in Bissau. “We have been held hostage by these guys for too long.”
Indeed. Three cheers for Mr. Mango! For far too long indeed. But how, exactly, did Guinea get to be in this state? What happened?

Ms. Polgreen is not so kind as to inform us. And while at a certain practical level it becomes difficult to give a shit about the rest of the world, the upas tree is not immune:
TONY BRANCATELLI, A CLEVELAND CITY COUNCILMAN, yearns for signs that something like normal life still exists in his ward. Early one morning last fall, he called me from his cellphone. He sounded unusually excited. He had just visited two forlorn-looking vacant houses that had been foreclosed more than a year ago. They sat on the same lot, one in front of the other. Both had been frequented by squatters, and Brancatelli had passed by to see if they had been finally boarded up. They hadn’t. But while there he noticed with alarm what looked like a prone body in the yard next door. As he moved closer, he realized he was looking at an elderly woman who had just one leg, lying on the ground. She was leaning on one arm and, with the other, was whacking at weeds with a hatchet and stuffing the clippings into a cardboard box for garbage pickup. “Talk about fortitude,” he told me. In a place like Cleveland, hope comes in small morsels.
[...]
The number of empty houses is so staggeringly high that no one has an accurate count. The city estimates that 10,000 houses, or 1 in 13, are vacant. The county treasurer says it’s more likely 15,000. Most of the vacant houses are owned by lenders who foreclosed on the properties and by the wholesalers who are now sweeping in to pick up houses in bulk, as if they were trading in baseball cards.
Piranesi's Rome, cows in the Forum and all. Though I'm not sure Cleveland is safe for cows.

66 Comments:

Blogger Daniel A. Nagy said...

You can annotate this article over at Thiblo.com, if there is something specific you want to comment on. Don't just read, write between the lines.

April 2, 2009 at 6:15 AM  
Blogger Black Sea said...

I was quite intrigued by the Times piece that you linked to on Cleveland foreclosures. I read it when it was first published and couldn't help but ponder, with a morbid fascination, that large swath of industrial America that has been declining for decades, and is now well and truly fucked. Yes, the old and enfeebled, whose doddering ways we've grown so used to, do eventually surprise us by dying. On a perhaps related note, the Times does occasionally contribute something of value to our understanding of the world.

Though I read this statistic some months ago, I still find myself unable to come completely to terms with the fact that the average sale price for a home in the city of Detroit in 2008 was $18,500. What do you suppose it'll be once GM and Chrysler are gone? I'm sure Michael Moore can't wait to start filming.

Moving on to more run-of-the-mill Times fare, I recently read this article on what I suppose we'll have to term urban renewal in tough times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/arts/design/29ouro.html?pagewanted=1

Afterward, I did something I almost never do, emailing the writer to note that he'd left out the part about paving the streets with gold, and reminding him that a delusion is not a plan.

To his meager credit, the writer does mention that Los Angeles is in danger of devolving into a Third World city. His recommended course of action: Build a park along the Los Angeles river, and expand the trolley line.

Oh well, that'll be fine then.

April 2, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

The conservative is ineffective by definition, because his goal is to make democracy work properly.

No.

Conservatism frequently loses because conservatism tries to preserve, manage, and stabilize whereas the left since 1789 is designed to destablize for the sake of egalitarianism.

Essentially, conservatism loses so often because conservatism is by its nature defensive and the left is offensive.

But I don't mind seeing conservatism lose because I am not a conservative. I prefer to view policy through the lense of HBD, science and logic.

April 2, 2009 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Savrola said...

Another yet undiscovered Jewish positivist?

April 2, 2009 at 11:52 AM  
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April 2, 2009 at 12:37 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

Mencius,

Do you think State and Defense will fight a proxy war in Mexico in the next 5-10 years?

April 2, 2009 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Another yet undiscovered Jewish positivist?

But of course!

April 2, 2009 at 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus fuck man, get to the point!

Not everyone has the time to skip through pages of Nazi bashing to get to the few flashes of intellect.

April 2, 2009 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

@anon

The Nazi bashing makes perfect sense in the context: namely the context of convincing a progressive of the virtues of a reactionary state. The closest analogue of the reactionary state is Nazi Germany and so Menicus must show why the reactionary state will not end up like Nazi Germany or that Nazi Germany was not so bad after all.

April 2, 2009 at 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Vladimir said...

Mencius Moldbug:
For example: if the Axis was a plot to take over the world, why did Japan never attack Russia? Answer?

Um... have you ever heard of the Soviet-Japanese War of 1938/39? Japan did try to expand into Russian territory, but the Russians kicked their ass, most notably in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. (Georgy Zhukov first made his name in this not so well-known war.) The Japanese were so badly beaten that they never dared provoke the USSR again.

Basically, the reason for this defeat was that unlike the Japanese navy, the WW2-era Japanese army was of horribly bad quality. Its technology, tactics, and organization were hopelessly behind any other modern nation. Even though Red Army was in pretty bad shape at the time, as witnessed by their misadventure in Finland, it was still vastly superior to anything the Japanese could field. (Unsurprisingly, when Russians finally went into an all-out attack against the Japanese in August 1945, the latter were annihilated in less than a week.)

April 2, 2009 at 5:34 PM  
Anonymous PA said...

Ok, I gotta hear a Mencian take on the anarchist riots in London.

April 2, 2009 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger Honorius Monkeymember said...

"Yet the story of Europe in the 12th century is regularly condensed to a few pages in standard textbooks."

Perhaps the twentieth century will also be summarised like this, in an even shorter form?

"They had technology, they used it, they lost it?"

or

"They had technology, they used it, and now we reside in the artificial palace of dementia which is the singularity"


The problem I see is that the historians have caught up to time. There's so many of those bastards around they could write the history of the last year. Wasn't history supposed to be part of... history? Or has the word already lost its "objective correlative"?

April 2, 2009 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger xlbrl said...

Damned good, Bug. My reading list grows.
Socialism is not the natural state of democracy, it is a natural progression of democracy. Socialism does not start democracies, and it cannot sustain democracies or itself, so it too is too a phase, and not a state.

April 2, 2009 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

Basically, the reason for this defeat was that unlike the Japanese navy, the WW2-era Japanese army was of horribly bad quality. Its technology, tactics, and organization were hopelessly behind any other modern nation. Even though Red Army was in pretty bad shape at the time, as witnessed by their misadventure in Finland, it was still vastly superior to anything the Japanese could field. (Unsurprisingly, when Russians finally went into an all-out attack against the Japanese in August 1945, the latter were annihilated in less than a week.)

Imperial Japan spent its whole existence punching WAY above its weight, and it never realized it was doing it. The victory in 1904 was a narrow thing. By 1937 both Japan and the US spent about a billion dollars on defense. but for the US this was about 2% of GDP. For the Japs it was about 25%. At the height of the Pacific war there were about 4 tons of equipment (e.g. tanks, artillery) supporting every American soldier while the average Japanese soldier had about 2 POUNDS of support. the economic disparity was so great that if the entire American fleet sunk in 1941 and the Japanese fleet completed its entire building program without losing a single ship, it still would have been outnumbered by 1943. The Japanese navy really had no idea what they were getting in to.

Of course, this does not make Mencius wrong. The Allies did intrigue with each other but ultimately did work together. The Axis barely spoke to each other. If they had the war might have gone very differently.

In the 30s the IJN consistently advocated attacking Asia while the IJA wanted to fight Russia. A big part of the reason the navy plan won out was that the army brass knew that they couldn't beat the USSR on their own and the Molotov pact convinced them that Hitler wouldn't be attacking Russia any time soon. A hostile Japan would have diverted British navy away from commerce protection in the North Atlantic. Additionally, Russia's 1941 winter counter attack would not have been possible without fresh troops from the east. Stalin was only able to transfer those forces to the German front because his spies informed him that the Japanese were headed south. Japanese forces in Manchuria were the creme of the Japanese army. Its 700k men were poorly equipped for modern war but they were still dangerous.

April 2, 2009 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Malchus X said...

Excellent, per usual. On a sojourn to Recycled Books in Denton, Texas, I finally obtained my very own mint condition copies of Spengler's two volume "The Decline of the West." My conversion to the Dark Side continues apace.
My wife despairs and pines for the equivalent of an intellectual intervention - she thinks Mencius is an enabler of my reactionary meltdown. She compares it to an academic version of that show on the Discovery Channel "A Haunting," with Mr. Moldbug's posts the metaphoric manifestation of the supernatural. She clings to the middle-right of "Tory Democracy," being a good conservative Republican and all.
But once she starts to tip in the full-fledged reactionary direction, which I've seen hints and flashes of occurring already as we've discussed the "gentler introduction" series to this blog, watch out. That roar you hear from the geographic middle of the North American continent will be someone on whom it has finally dawned that they've spent a lifetime being "bamboozled" - in Malcolm X's inimitable way of phrasing it - by the chroniclers of the Official Story. That will be my wife.
In any event, I recognized immediately the tone of the replies to the casual inquiry in Columbus that you discussed in this entry: "what happened to Olde Towne Easte?"
I had a similar - though *singular* - encounter at our last extended family reunion on my mother's side, which is organized by my parents. A cousin of mine is a wonderful person, very well educated in the current academic sense (which is to say: she has an Ivy League degree, and isn't shy reminding people of it), and I love her dearly. She is also the kind of person who thinks the Eucharist should be broken in the name of M.L. King the Father, Che the Son, and Karl the Class Struggle Ghost.
We don't have political "arguments," really, because we are on such opposite sides of the political spectrum that we could not even begin to agree that the sky is blue - I would say that that's obvious to the naked eye, and she'd say I was suffering from a "false consciousness" and that my perception that it was "really" blue was just a "social construct."
Anyway, she regaled a small knot of attentive family members for a good bit about how "white flight" had ruined a section of Kansas City she's all worked up about currently for some unspecified reason - by the very act of their fleeing across the river to Overland Park decades ago they'd done damage to "the community." Just their very absence was a "shame and an outrage...they destroyed the schools by pulling their kids out and giving in to hate." Yada, yada, yada, we all know the PC talking points drill.
So, I asked her "Cuz, are you saying there couldn't have been any reason other than blind 'hate' that caused these parents to move all those years ago? Like, say, concern about the safety of their kids, and the quality of the schools they went to, stuff like that?"
I got THE SMILE - the patronizing Anita-Hill-told-the-truth smile of the uber-feminist Progressive.
We both smiled: I Just. Didn't. Get. IT. And we both knew it.
Later, to another knot of family members (my beloved cousin prides herself on HOLDING FORTH at every occasion that doesn't have the potential of turning unpleasant among what is in general a crowd of beer-swilling, gun-owning Rush Limbaugh fans who nevertheless live in fear of their lives that they'll be called "racist") the talk swung to some of the renovations in Oklahoma City that has led to the moving of many upper middle class families (read: largely white families) back to that urban downtown area.
This, my cousin assured her audience, was more proof of racism on the march: it was "gentrification."
"But, Cuz," I said, "a little bit ago you were saying that whites fleeing the urban center of a city was a big problem that ruined everything; now you're saying them moving back in is an equally big problem, ruining everything. What's up with that?"
She said, "Malchus, I love you dearly - but you Just. Don't. Get. It.
And she's right.
Anyway, sorry to go on so long, but again great post, Mr. Moldbug.

April 2, 2009 at 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Vladimir said...

Studd Beefpile:
Of course, this does not make Mencius wrong. The Allies did intrigue with each other but ultimately did work together. The Axis barely spoke to each other. If they had the war might have gone very differently.

That's true, although in fact, Germany and Japan weren't even able to talk to each other except over radio transmissions whose ecryption was broken by the Allies early in the war. (They could also send each other mail by submarines, but that required several weeks.) It's hard to devise a workable joint strategy under such conditions.

However, while it's certainly true that the Axis was not "a plot to take over the world", it did consist of two separate conspiracies, each fanatically dedicated to the conquest of a vast empire. I think Mencius is getting too much carried away when he states things like "Japan and Nazi Germany fought because they wanted to be independent". Each of them fought to build its own large empire -- and if they hadn't insisted on pursuing their expansionist campaigns with suicidal fanaticism, they would have been left alone by the Anglosphere. For comparison, just observe how Japan happily sat out most of WW1 and even managed to grab some loot for free during that period. (None of the American "provocations" that supposedly pushed Japan into WW2 ever had any effect except making them choose between downsizing the empire and entering an insane suicidal war with the U.S.)

April 3, 2009 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

nice but full of typos and misedits. i've marked it up at thiblo

April 3, 2009 at 1:20 AM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

None of the American "provocations" that supposedly pushed Japan into WW2 ever had any effect except making them choose between downsizing the empire and entering an insane suicidal war with the U.S.

Sort of like saying none of my attempts to make money had any effect except for making me a millionaire.

The entire point of provocations is to provoke. If they succeed in provoking, they have had not just an effect, but their desired effect. FDR wanted to get in the war, and he made sure of it by placing the fleet where it could be attacked by Japan, then engaging in provocation after provocation until they finally took the bait. And via the magic intercepts he knew exactly what the Japanese were thinking. A masterful manipulation both of Japan and of the American people whose interests he was supposed to protect.

April 3, 2009 at 7:55 AM  
Anonymous notuswind said...

Mencius,

Mostly well done. You argue your case well enough that the 20th century German wars were wars of predation.

The only hole that I can see in your latest offering is this recurrent obfuscation between progressivism and democracy. Some weeks you assign primary responsiblity for the existence of the "modern structure" to an anglo-protestant progressivism, even going so far as to single out the Quakers for special rebuke, on other weeks (like this one) it's democracy. So, which is it? Moreover, I don't think you can square this circle of invective by claiming that democracy and [anglo-] progressivism are somehow inscrutably related. Whatever connection that exists between the two seems to me more an accident of history than necessity.

Anyway, keep up the great work. I love reading your blog entries.

April 3, 2009 at 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Pseudothyrum said...

In terms of about the past 100 years of history, when various nations and peoples have attempted to assert their independence by trying to break free from the slave-chains of the international Ziosupremacist money-masters, wars have been waged against them in order to beat them in to submission and so called 'democratic' puppet governments have been immorally installed to further dispossess them of their national sovereignty, steal their resources, and exploit their citizens under false claims of 'open markets' and 'free trade.'

For instance, did you know that Saddam Hussein and the toppled Iraqi government had socialist origins under The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party? Most leftists have no idea that Iraq was a reaonably advanced and secular socialist country until it was invaded, conquered, and ultimately wrecked by the United States of Israel. Indeed, many countries like Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, etc had true ethnic nationalist socialist economic systems (by popular/democratic demand of their citizens) until they were invaded, conquered, plundered, and ultimately controlled by the roving Zioplutocrats.

It seems that as soon as a country manages to assert its national sovereignty along comes the USA and the UK, both of which are obviously under the strict control of the international Ziosupremacist money-master control freaks, who then proceed to wage war against them in an attempt to smash all semblances of independence and national self-determination in order to install so called 'democratic' governments and ‘capitalist’-’free market' economic systems which are actually not at all free or capitalistic but merely composed of rootless and globalist parasitic plutocrats who seek to utterly control and exploit the citizens and resources of once free nations and peoples.

April 3, 2009 at 7:55 PM  
Anonymous White Western Man said...

The best thing about Italian Fascism and German National Socialism is that they were ACTION ORIENTED political systems - they worked assiduously to get positive and constructive things done and to confront and solve serious problems in their countries instead of just laying down and remaining mired in the corruption and stagnation which was evident under the (installed) pre-facist democracies. In this respect I admire them.

There were major problems wracking the democratic systems of Italy, Germany, and elsewhere which were clearly degenerate and corrupt before the fascist ascendancy occurred, and after taking over the fascists worked to confront and resolve them and thus move forward. Perhaps the only thing common to all of the disparate fascist political systems which arose in Europe during the 20th Century is that they all had this action-oriented/anti-stagnation mindset in common; they had the philosophy which is instinctive to all advanced aquatic animals: "Keep moving forward or die." Note also the link between 20th Century Futurism and Fascism. Far from being 'reactionary' or 'hyperconservative' across the board as the media and academia likes to portray it, fascism was very future-oriented and progressive in many instances, preferring to discard what doesn't work and embrace what does whether it was deemed liberal, centrist, or conservative. In this sense fascism was extremely amalgamative.

American democracy faces this same stagnation dilemma currently, as it is severely hampered by widespread apathy, inaction, corruption, and degeneracy. In fact, I think that nearly all democratic political systems have eventually succumbed to these same problems when they mature (once they cease to be new and revolutionary) and become taken over by greedy plutocrats, entrenched bureaucrats, and superficial/fast-talking politicians who must endlessly must pander to the 'consensus' of the fickle masses who do not actually enjoy thinking for themselves but rather prefer to be told what to do.

Stagnation, corruption, apathy, degeneracy, and the inability to effectively confront and solve problems eventually means that the end is near for any political system...thus I do not hold high hopes for the future of the American democratic which is currently suffering from all of those aforementioned problems with no solutions being offered by the out-of-touch clowns in Washington.

April 3, 2009 at 11:55 PM  
Anonymous c23 said...

FDR wanted to get in the war, and he made sure of it by placing the fleet where it could be attacked by Japan, then engaging in provocation after provocation until they finally took the bait. And via the magic intercepts he knew exactly what the Japanese were thinking.

Maybe so, but the Japanese and the Germans had other options besides sneak-attacking and declaring war on the US. If the Japanese had just taken the oil-rich Dutch East Indies without attacking the US first, maybe the US would have declared war on them, but there still would have been a US peace party which would have had a glimmer of hope of defeating Roosevelt in '44 if the American public judged that the cost of fighting a war with Japan over China and European colonies wasn't worth several hundred thousand American lives.

As for Germany, they were under no obligation to declare war on the US just because the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor. FDR might have had a difficult time making the destruction of Germany priority #1 when the American public was mad at Japan if Hitler hadn't helpfully declared war. Note that Germany also had absolutely no way to strike at the US besides a few dozen U-boats, rendering their declaration of war pointless.

It was only possible for FDR to manipulate the fascists because they were such blithering idiots.

April 4, 2009 at 12:01 AM  
Anonymous White Western Man said...

re: Newt0311: "The Nazi bashing makes perfect sense in the context: namely the context of convincing a progressive of the virtues of a reactionary state. The closest analogue of the reactionary state is Nazi Germany and so Menicus must show why the reactionary state will not end up like Nazi Germany or that Nazi Germany was not so bad after all."

Totally incorrect except for the last eight words. Nazi Germany cannot at all be pigeonholed as a "reactionary state" - they had MANY progressive policies, namely socialism and relative economic equality for ethnic Germans (remember, Nazism = nationalism + socialism), environmentalism (Nazi Germany had the world's first strict environmental policies), a major focus on public health issues, and so on.

Read the 25 Point National Socialist Program [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_Program#The_full_text_of_the_25_point_program ] and then get back to me about how "reactionary" it is. Though portions of Nazism were reactionary, other portions were quite progressive. I for one fail to see how the following points from that program are in any way "reactionary":

# All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
# The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently we demand:
# Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of rent-slavery.
# In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
# We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
# We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
# We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
# We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
# We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
# We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
# We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
# The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbuergerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.
# The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
# We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: The good of the state before the good of the individual.

Again, all of that (which was carried out in Nazi Germany as well as they were able to in 12 short years) is not at all "reactionary."

April 4, 2009 at 12:30 AM  
Anonymous White Western Man said...

Similarly, before Austria became a republic the Austrian DNSAP (German National Socialist Worker's Party), proclaimed a similar program in May 1918 which specifically opposed reactionary politics and even identifies itself as "liberal" (though the translation from German may be off here) A few excerpts:

* the German National Socialist Workers' Party is not a party exclusively for labourers; it stands for the interests of every decent and honest enterprise. It is a liberal (freiheitlich) and strictly folkic (volkisch) party fighting against all reactionary efforts, clerical, feudal and capitalistic privileges; but before all against the increasing influence of the Jewish commercial mentality which encroaches on public life....
* ...it demands the amalgamation of all European regions inhabited by Germans into a democratic and socialized Germany...
* ...it demands the introduction of plebiscites (referendums; democratic decision-making) for all important laws in the country...
* ...it demands the elimination of the rule of Jewish banks over our economic life and the establishment of People's Banks under democratic control...

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_Program#Austrian_Party_Platform

April 4, 2009 at 12:59 AM  
Anonymous togo said...

Setting aside all the aid that FDR was providing Hitler's enemies(including the USSR), the US had been waging an undeclared war against Germany in the North Atlantic for several months before Pearl Harbor:
http://www.historyarticles.com/new_page_10.htm

http://www.uboataces.com/boa-america.shtml

http://www.confessingevangelical.com/?p=1399

April 4, 2009 at 6:33 AM  
Anonymous c23 said...

Setting aside all the aid that FDR was providing Hitler's enemies(including the USSR), the US had been waging an undeclared war against Germany in the North Atlantic for several months before Pearl Harbor

That's true, but it still didn't make a declaration of war against the US a smart move.

Did the amount of lend lease aid the US was sending to Germany's enemies
a) increase
b) decrease
after Germany declared war on the US?

Did the intensity of warfare inflicted on Germany by
a) increase
b) decrease
after Germany declared war on the US?

Germany had no hope of forcing the US to stop interfering in the war. They did, however, have the power to destroy the US isolationist movement and give pro-war politicians an excuse to wage total war against Germany, which is exactly what they did.

The only benefit Germany got out of it was that they managed to sink a few million more tons of shipping in 1942 than they otherwise would have been able to, which was ultimately of little significance, and was probably more than outweighed by the increase in land-lease aid, let alone the involvement of the US military.

April 4, 2009 at 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you really not get your point across without having to use a BILLION FUCKING WORDS?

Jesus fucking christ do you have Asperger's or something? That's it isn't it, you're an aspie.

God damn.

April 4, 2009 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

I've read this site for over a year now. I have to say that "part 8" is the first one that has put any crack in my general acceptance of the blue-pill viewpoint of America. I am still happy enough with the Founding and have not been converted to the loyalist cause, but I have long been uneasy with the 20th century.

I recently happened (coincidentally) on the Wikipedia article for Jonestown.

You may snicker at my innocence but I was thunderstruck by the number of American politicians and cultural figures, many still alive and practicing their dastardly arts today, who kowtowed to that obvious lunatic, Jim Jones, for reasons that Mencius explains clearly enough above. The Wik article is an excellent one: recommended (unless you're in a down mood and don't wish to worsen it).

April 4, 2009 at 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the Axis was a plot to take over the world, why did Japan never attack Russia? Answer?

Um... have you ever heard of the Soviet-Japanese War of 1938/39?


Exactly right. The Soviets were too tough, and the Japanese knew it. More to the point, though, the Japanese never attacked Russia because America cut off Japan's oil supply. Japan could not attack Russia after the US did this. Instead, Japan had to attack south to secure the oil in Indonesia.

America's successful prevention of a combined German-Japanese attack on Russia does not mean that no such attack was planned, intended, or actively discussed among the Axis powers. It was!

I have to say that "part 8" is the first one that has put any crack in my general acceptance of the blue-pill viewpoint of America.

That's too bad, because this is one of his weakest posts in my opinion.

April 4, 2009 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger nazgulnarsil said...

To be fair none of Mencius' posts have really been a concentrated synthesis of the best points against blue-pillism.
he seems to be working towards one with each series (OL, GI, HRDGP)

April 4, 2009 at 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Vladimir said...

Leonard:
FDR wanted to get in the war, and he made sure of it by placing the fleet where it could be attacked by Japan, then engaging in provocation after provocation until they finally took the bait. And via the magic intercepts he knew exactly what the Japanese were thinking. A masterful manipulation both of Japan and of the American people whose interests he was supposed to protect.

Well, yes, but it doesn't change the fact that Japan was on a collision course with Britain and the U.S. anyway. It's plainly clear that the Japanese leadership was suicidally insane in its quest for conquest and expansion of their empire -- if they had any sanity whatsoever, they would never have even dreamed of going to war against the U.S. Don't forget that by 1940 Japan had already adopted a bullying attitude towards Britain (remember their demands for closing the Burma Road) and invaded French Indochina.

It was only a matter of time when the war would finally break out, regardless of what either Britain or the U.S. did, unless perhaps they preemptively surrendered and relinquished control of the entire Pacific and East Asia. With or without FDR, what was the U.S. supposed to do? Continue supplying Japan with oil while they solidify their position for the eventual inevitable war?

The junta in Tokyo wanted to play a great power even though they were plainly not one -- and in their military adventures, their savagery was matched only by their lunacy. When the *real* great powers slapped them and told them to get their act together, they responded with a suicidal attack. Yes, in 1941, they found themselves in a position were they had to choose between humiliation and starting a suicidal war -- but they got themselves into that position.

This is why I think that "provocations" is a wrong term for the U.S. actions against Japan before Pearl Harbor. Imagine someone who goes to a bar and, entirely unprovoked and driven by sheer idiotism, starts picking fights and throwing stuff around while yelling that he's the biggest badass around, even though he's obviously not. If some real badass backed by a whole gang steps in, slaps him, and tells him to get the fuck out, he'll be faced with the same choice as the Japanese junta in 1941. If he refuses to get out, gets into a fight, and ends up in the trauma, it would be pretty silly to focus on the slapping and claim that he was "provoked" into the fight in retrospect.

April 4, 2009 at 3:55 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I agree with Vladimir, and would add that Japan was if anything even more genocidal, evil, insane, malicious and dangerous than Nazi Germany and 90% of the Nazi leadership - and by a considerable margin too.

Even if Mencius and Pat Buchanan are right that America could have lived with a Nazi dominated Europe, I think America could not have afforded to allow a totally insane militarily efficient Japan to rule East Asia and her resources and develop a nuclear weapon eventually:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

Vivisection

Prisoners of war were subjected to vivisection without anesthesia.[14][12]

Vivisections were performed on prisoners after infecting them with various diseases. Scientists performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was feared that the decomposition process would affect the results.[15][12]

The infected and vivisected prisoners included men, women, children, and infants.[16]

Vivisections were also performed on pregnant women, sometimes impregnated by doctors, and the fetus removed.[17]

Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss.[12]

Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body.[12]

Some prisoners' limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene and rotting.
Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines.[12]

Parts of the brain, lungs, liver, etc. were removed from some prisoners.[18][14][12]

In 2007, Doctor Ken Yuasa testified to the Japan Times that "I was afraid during my first vivisection, but the second time around, it was much easier. By the third time, I was willing to do it." He believes at least 1,000 persons, including surgeons, were involved in vivisections over mainland China.[19]

April 4, 2009 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger xlbrl said...

Japan was Al-Queda with national sovereignty. This was going to happen, one way or another. Even Roosevelt couldn't always be wrong.

If Paul Johnson is right, Japan was ruled like competing cabals of mafia lords representing the Army, Navy, and various civilian interests. They used assasination--of each other--as a means of persuasion in setting national policy.

In general, it is probably not a good idea to sell oil and other resources to a culture that practices beheading on civilians. If that is true now, it was true then.

April 4, 2009 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Colin,

Glad to hear you're on the crack.

Anonymous tl;dr folks, why are you posting?

Everyone else -- thoughts on MM's upcoming "how to" section? Anything we haven't already heard?

M

April 4, 2009 at 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Lehuster said...

Thus the standard story of the 20th century includes one set of actors which are portrayed accurately (the fascist regimes), one set which was portrayed inaccurately but has since been repaired with the assistance of whiteout (the revolutionary regimes), and one set whose mythos remains gloriously intact (the democratic regimes).

The thrust of your post this week seems to be that the fascists are not, in fact, portrayed accurately. They are portrayed as seeking global domination, and you argue they weren't. They are portrayed as inherently aggressive, and you argue that they were provoked.

Also, the standard story of the Cold War is way off from the perspective of the latter two regime types. Ask anyone what the Cold War was, they'll tell you "a U.S.-Soviet struggle". But that is not what the American (and most Western, and definitely the Russian) historiography shows. The Soviet side is almost completely whited out, so they appear as passive observers or not players at all. This is most obvious in the histories of the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, the Americans are portrayed as constantly running around intervening and meddling, seemingly with no reason. If you remove the Soviets and only show the American reaction without any explanation of what the Americans were reacting to, you emerge with an impression of a hopelessly evil, aggressive America - and that is what the standard version of the Cold War shows. The reason for this, of course, is that history is written by the winners. The winners were the faction that believed in detente with the USSR, i.e. the New Dealers, the liberal elite, the universalists, the same faction that whitewashed Stalin's USSR. If they wrote histories that showed the USSR doing anything bad, that might call into question the New Deal factions relentless quest for detente with the USSR from 1933 to 1991.

It is not possible to imagine the 17th century with a French king other than Louis XIV, but it is possible to imagine Nazi Germany with a Fuehrer who wasn't Hitler.

This is backwards. A French king other than Louis XIV would have done pretty much what he did, but it is completely impossible to imagine a Nazi Germany with a different Fuehrer doing pretty much what Hitler did. Hitler mattered!

On the democratic side, the "leaders" are almost figureheads, and the actors are almost interchangeable.

Churchill was indispensable. All the other Brits were interchangeable figureheads, but not him. FDR was not interchangeable - you'd certainly get a different outcome to WW2 if he'd lost in 1936 or 1940.

The major armed doctrines in the Second German War, for instance, were Universalism, Nazism and Bolshevism. These can easily be taken as examples of the class: democratic, revolutionary, and counter-revolutionary. We consider these in reverse order.

A counter-revolutionary is anyone who fights against revolution. This category can be divided roughly into three parts: reactionary, conservative, and fascist.


Should the argument in the first paragraph be that Bolshevism is revolutionary and Nazism is counter-revolutionary? Then the second paragraph makes sense. Otherwise you are saying that Bolshevism = counter-revolutionary = reactionary, conservative, or fascist.

his goal is to make democracy work properly. The fact that it does not work properly, has never worked properly, and will never work properly, sails straight over his head.

The US created more freedom and prosperity than any other nation in the history of mankind, but didn't work properly?

If you want to know anything about fascists, ask a liberal. He will tell you instantly, and he will be right.

He will tell you a crude, cartoonish view. What liberals don't know about fascism is far greater than what they do know. Most of them think the Nazis were "conservatives", for example.

It is perfectly legitimate to compare Sarah Palin to Hitler, for example.

No it isn't, because Hitler wanted to change everything about Germany and Europe. There was literally no German or international institution he did not want to change. Palin does not, so far as we know, want to change everything about the United States, or about the US role in the world.

The old world of Biedermeier, of Central European haute-bourgeois aristocracy, is exactly as dead. But there were many attempts to preserve it, and fascism was one.

I hope you don't think preserving Central European haute-bourgeois aristocracy was Hitler's goal. Nothing could be further from the truth! Fundamentally wrong, sorry.

When fascism ascends to power, it creates a coherent central authority (good) which is not responsible in any way (bad), maintains itself in power by indocrinating its subjects (bad), and practices unnecessary and sadistic violence (bad).

Hey, that kinda sounds like what we have in the USA right now! (Only half joking...)

The most gross misstatement about fascism presently understood, however, is that the Axis constituted a plot to take over the world. It is truly amazing that people believe this today, for there is no evidence for it whatsoever. However, most historians simply treat it as a given.

The German plot, as such, was to take over Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. The Japanese plot was to control East Asia, including China, Korea, Siberia, the Philippines, Indochina, Indonesia, Malaya, Thailand, Burma, and New Guinea. I don't feel like calculating what fraction of the 1939 world's population and industrial resources this was, but I bet it was most of it. Frankly I think it is childish to assert that if the Axis did not have a written plan to invade Uruguay, they did not want to control the world. From the purely American point of view, if the Axis had effectively controlled everything outside the Western hemisphere, that would have been a horrendous disaster for us even if they swore never to set foot in our hemisphere. This outcome was worth fighting to stop! We didn't want the Soviet Union controlling Eurasia and Africa, either - that's why we fought the Cold War. We were right to do that, too.

The fundamental error you make here is to assume that because the Axis threat was exaggerated, there was no threat. Wrong and simplistic.

If you want an accurate military history of the Second German War and its aftermath, which is also a primary source, I recommend Albert Wedemeyer's memoir on the American side, and Erich von Manstein's on the German. Both dispense with this myth, giving it exactly the short shrift it deserves.

Lost Victories is not an honest work. It contains many efforts to hide facts that reflect poorly on the author and to blame his failures on others (most notably Hitler).

Manstein, for instance, points out that Hitler never displayed any emotional interest in going to war with England, even after he was at war with England.

So what? That didn't mean he didn't intend to destroy them or turn them into Germany's lackey. What he wanted the British to do was ignore their own national interests and give him a free hand to crush France and the USSR. His failure to understand why this was manifestly not in Britain's interest is not Britain's fault, and does not make Hitler any less the aggressor.

Hitler's supposed lack of interest in war with England is belied by his order to German industry to start designing battleships in 1934. This was one of the very first things he did when he came to power. Such ships could only be directed at Britain. Later in the 1930s he ordered the creation of an even more gigantic and obviously anti-British navy. Whatever his emotional feelings about England, these were pretty specific actions against her.

Hitler was a man of extremely fixed ideas. These ideas are all set down in Mein Kampf. One of these ideas was that Germany needed to expand to the east. Another was that it needed to have England as a friend.

Gerhard Weinberg, among others, has shown that whatever Hitler said in MK, his actual actions after he came to power do not reflect a serious intention to "have England as a friend". There was no "lost opportunity" for Britain here!

Secondly we should note that it is absurd to take Mein Kampf as an infallible guide to Hitler's future actions. He does not say ANYTHING about attacking Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, or Greece, or occupying Czechoslovakia. Yet we know he did. He does not say ANYTHING about intending the mass murder of the Jews. Yet we know he did. He says nothing about seeking an alliance with Japan - in fact he expresses scorn for them - yet we know that in fact he did.

For example: if the Axis was a plot to take over the world, why did Japan never attack Russia? Answer? Because Japan and Germany were acting as independent, sovereign nations.

Germany and Japan were actively discussing attacking the USSR from June to December 1941. Japan did not attack Russia because America put an oil embargo on Japan that forced Japan to move South.

They were not acting under any kind of central command, and they had no great trust in each other. They just happened to have similar forms of government and had signed a few token pacts of understanding.

An incompetently executed (and ultimately frustrated) effort to take over the world is nevertheless an effort to take over the world.

That was the whole point of the war: a rebellion. Japan and Nazi Germany fought because they wanted to be independent, as did Imperial Germany. They lost, so they became provinces in a world empire. That's how it goes.

They would have remained independent if they had not started the war! If Hitler had stopped after Czechoslovakia, the Nazis would rule Germany to this day, and Japan would have a large empire on the Asian continent.

Whereas the Allies were already acting as a single world authority, which was called the "United Nations" even during the war.

Well, no, wrong. The Allies did not have a central command - the US and Brits did, but the US, Brits and Russians together did not. The big three did not really trust each other, and had signed a few token pacts of understanding (the Atlantic Charter). So basically the same logic you use to support the claim the Axis did not intend to take over the world also shows that the Allies did not have a plan to take over the world.

On the other hand, the Second German War - as well as the First - looks a lot more like a rebellion against said single world authority.

How the hell can WW2 be a rebellion against something that did not exist in 1939, was only brought into existence because the Germans started WW2, and would never have existed if the Germans hadn't started the war???

The conquest between America plus Britain plus Russia, and anyone else, is not and cannot be a conquest of equals.

The fact that the Axis bit off more than they could chew does not make them the injured party or the victims of Allied aggression.

Finally, it is incumbent on us to consider the actual origins of the First German War. What happened was: Britain was the sponsor of France, France was the sponsor of Russia, and Russia was the sponsor of Serbia.

This ignores the basic fact that Germany made all this happen. Why were these nations "sponsoring" each other? Answer, fear of Germany that resulted from things Germany did. Without the German conquest of France in 1870, and the occupation of Alsace-Lorraine, France would never have sought alliance with Russia. Without egregious German offenses to Britain, and the building of a large Navy, Britain would never have backed France.

Austria had every right to invade Serbia, and it was none of anyone's business. Certainly not Britain's!

Britain did not go to war over Serbia. Britain went to war because Germany invaded Belgium. We must also note that Germany (not Britain) gave Austria a blank check to pummel Serbia.

The general behavior of Britain and the Entente before the First German War was to provoke Germany in every way possible, but to make the result appear as if Germany was itself acting unstably and aggressively.

Germany in fact was behaving unstably and aggressively! German foreign policy was frankly irresponsible and reaped what it sowed.

Most responsible statesmen agreed that the confiscation of German territory by the French client states of the Little Entente, Czechoslovakia (which you may search for on a map today) and Poland, was unjust.

This injustice could have been corrected without war. Anyway, Hitler did not go to war to get back this German territory, but to smash France and the USSR and to dominate Europe.

The fact that Nazi Germany invaded Poland does not, believe it or not, imply that its next step would have been to invade Brazil. Frederick the Great invaded Silesia in the 18th century, and he made no claims whatsoever to Brazil.

Germany's goals were certainly not limited to Poland, and the British and French were right to try and stop Hitler at that point. Indeed, they should have started sooner.

Hitler would have accepted unconditional peace with America and Britain at any time.

America and Britain had no obligation to offer a peace that left Hitler in charge of his conquests, and had every practical reason not to do so. It does not make Britain the aggressor and Hitler the peace-lover if Britain refused to allow Hitler to keep the fruits of his past aggression.

So this is fascism: a dangerous and aggressive movement, with even more dangerous and aggressive enemies.

You have not demonstrated the inherent aggression of the democracies or that their "aggression" required Hitler to act. The British were desperate to maintain peace in Europe, and if Hitler had just stopped after Munich he would have remained in power for decades. The British did not need war, and in fact understood that another world war would mean the end of their Empire. The British also knew that war would only benefit the USA and the USSR. Thus they had no incentive to provoke war, and every incentive to relieve German grievances without war.

1933 to 1939 does not show an aggressive Britain and France provoking Hitler. It shows an aggressive Hitler provoking flabby, pacifistic, demoralized Britain and France until they finally decided to fight.

Our interpretation rather absolves Mr. Hiss and his ilk, personally, of collaboration with the crimes of Stalin. But unfortunately, it transfers that responsibility onto the New Deal itself.

The Anglo-American progressive establishment, having spawned the Bolshevik monster in their minds, inflicted it on the chief backwater of Europe, shielded it from its foes in its youth, and fed it money and equipment, not to mention lives and territories, in its prime. It is therefore indicted, on the good general principle of Roman law in which the master is responsible for the deeds of his servant, for the crimes of the Soviet Union.


This is absolute rubbish. The Soviet Union and only the Soviet Union is responsible for the crimes of the Soviet Union. Soviet leaders were adults in control of an independent state. They are to blame for what they did, nobody else!

You can apply the same pseudo-logic to Nazi Germany. Elites in Britain helped the Nazis rise to power, shielded the infant Nazi state, and fed it money, lives, and territories in its prime. Therefore Britain is responsible for everything the Nazis did and "made it possible" for the Nazis to inflict war and the holocaust on Europe. Needless to say, I reject this spurious logic as well.

I feel that Washington can no less escape the crimes of Moscow than the Wehrmacht can escape the crimes of the SS.

Washington's long-term and misguided effort to seek cooperation with Moscow do not make Washington responsible for Moscow's crimes.

During the Second German War, the New Deal became a true one-party state.

In fact, WW2 created a faction to compete with the New Dealers after the war that did not exist before the war. This was the faction that pressed for containment of and confrontation with the USSR.

Victor's book is also unusual because he is a supporter of FDR. He believes that governments must sometimes act in Machiavellian ways, and he thinks USG did the right thing in going to war with Nazi Germany.

He is right.

All this is no more than the normal operating procedure of a criminal regime.

Nope. We provoked Japan and Germany precisely because we were not a criminal regime! A criminal regime does not need to engineer an elaborate provocation in order to go to war. A criminal regime simply declares war. Only a state where laws prevail and the government must take the people's wishes into account (i.e. not a criminal regime) has to force the enemy to fire the first shot.

The fundamental argument on which USG rests its present legitimacy and its claims to "world leadership" is its moral supremacy.

Really? I always thought it was economic and military superiority.

April 4, 2009 at 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Vladimir said...

Even if Mencius and Pat Buchanan are right that America could have lived with a Nazi dominated Europe, I think America could not have afforded to allow a totally insane militarily efficient Japan to rule East Asia and her resources and develop a nuclear weapon eventually

Already in 1938 (in fact, I'd say even earlier), both the Nazis and the Japanese junta were so drunk with success and delusions of grandeur and invincibility that it's silly to think that they would have stopped their expansion at any reasonable point. Any further appeasement and passivity just fed the beast and made it even harder to slay eventually. These regimes were in full grip of the same syndrome as Napoleon 130 years earlier -- and just like back then, there was no possibility of peace until they were obliterated.

Both monstrosities should have been simply nipped in the bud. If the German flouting of Versailles in 1935/36 had been followed by reprisals instead of cowardly retreats, and if the Japanese aggression had been answered by embargoes and credible naval threats already in 1931, WW2 would have been easily avoided. (Such resolute responses would have given second thoughts to Stalin too.) This line of thinking seems much more rational to me than Buchanan's fantasies about the U.S. happily minding its own business while sharing the world with Japanese and Nazi empires. (BTW, in some of their more creative moments, the Nazis considered the future cold war with the U.S. -- their plans for stirring up trouble in Latin America were quite similar to what the USSR did later.)

Of course, although such early preventive action would have been a trivial and obvious exercise for 19th century statesmen, it was politically impossible in the 1930s for obvious reasons -- the same ones that made any rational peace agreement impossible when WW1 ended up in a stalemate. It is indeed true that democracies are generally incapable of rational foreign policy when faced with hostility, let alone competent use of military threats.

This is not to say that I have much disagreement with the main points of Mencius's post. Basically, my objection is that he is: (1) underestimating the level of delusional, suicidal fanaticism that was driving both the Nazis and the Japanese junta, and (2) overestimating the willingness of FDR and the rest of the Anglospheric establishment to spread their Universalist gospel around the world without being confronted by insolent expansionist wannabe Great Powers.

If the Nazi and Japanese regimes had stuck to maintaining their own closed fortresses of reaction without bullying and attacking their neighbors and indulging in Napoleonic fantasies, they would have had the complete liberty to do in entirely unmolested, just like their ideological cousins in Spain and Portugal did. Of course, you can point out that Spain and Portugal got duly integrated into the Universalist mainstream a generation later. (The Spainiards seem to be especially eager to make up for the lost time -- their judges, with Mr. Baltasar Garzón at the vanguard, are now claiming worldwide jurisdiction for prosecuting violations of Universalist principles!) However, note that after WW2, Spain and Portugal were left as tiny dots of reaction on a perfectly homogeneous Universalist map of Europe. Had Germany and Japan fallen under similar non-expansionist and relatively sane reactionary regimes, we can only speculate what would have happened with Europe and the rest of the world. But the course of events would certainly have been far less horrific than WW2 and the Holocaust, and also, for better or worse, very different from the post-WW2 Universalist homogenization that happened in reality.

April 4, 2009 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Leukocyte:

This is absolute rubbish. The Soviet Union and only the Soviet Union is responsible for the crimes of the Soviet Union. Soviet leaders were adults in control of an independent state. They are to blame for what they did, nobody else!

You can apply the same pseudo-logic to Nazi Germany. Elites in Britain helped the Nazis rise to power, shielded the infant Nazi state, and fed it money, lives, and territories in its prime. Therefore Britain is responsible for everything the Nazis did and "made it possible" for the Nazis to inflict war and the holocaust on Europe. Needless to say, I reject this spurious logic as well.


Yes, here is the truth, in front of my face. But I reject it.

2nd Edition AD&D was over a long time ago, man. You just can't "disbelieve the illusion" if what's in front of you is real.

A criminal regime does not need to engineer an elaborate provocation in order to go to war. A criminal regime simply declares war.

You, sir, need to re-watch Godfather, Part II. Or, failing that, Powell's testimony on Iraqi weaponry.

The fundamental argument on which USG rests its present legitimacy and its claims to "world leadership" is its moral supremacy.

Really? I always thought it was economic and military superiority.


Apparently you also need to rewatch everything The Chosen One has said. Just because we like MM's verbosity, doesn't mean length makes right. Just ask TGGP.

However, note that after WW2, Spain and Portugal were left as tiny dots of reaction on a perfectly homogeneous Universalist map of Europe.

Because they were thoroughly Catholic. Europe could give two shits about Portugal, Spain, and Italy. Hell, they're barely functional in the EU as it is.

April 4, 2009 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

This ignores the basic fact that Germany made all this happen. Why were these nations "sponsoring" each other? Answer, fear of Germany that resulted from things Germany did. Without the German conquest of France in 1870, and the occupation of Alsace-Lorraine, France would never have sought alliance with Russia.

It was the Russians that sought alliance with France more than the other way around. Bismark had made it his policy to maintain an alliance with both Austria and Russia, but those who followed Bismark were not skilled enough to stay friendly with both of them while they butted heads in the Balkans. They eventually chose Austria, and so Russia went to France, who was happy to loan them all the money they wanted in exchange for the promise to fight Germany. And Russia sponsored Serbia because they wanted a Balkan empire, not because of Germany.

This is absolute rubbish. The Soviet Union and only the Soviet Union is responsible for the crimes of the Soviet Union. Soviet leaders were adults in control of an independent state. They are to blame for what they did, nobody else!

You are right that the Russians are responsible for Russia, but I think you are missing Mencius' main point. The Progressives ostensibly went to war with the fascists because of their awful crimes, but the Bolsheviks committed FAR greater crimes and were never attacked. A political movement truly interested in “making the world safe for democracy” would have listened to Patton and not stopped marching till they got to Moscow. The failure of the New Dealers to do so, or to even propagandize against the communists, suggests that democracy was not really what they were interested in.

In fact, WW2 created a faction to compete with the New Dealers after the war that did not exist before the war. This was the faction that pressed for containment of and confrontation with the USSR.

The reason there was no aggressive anti-Soviet party in the US before WW2 was that the Soviets were not dangerous to anyone outside Russia before WW2. It was WW2 that made them a threat through technology transfer, turbo charging their economy, and giving them a massive empire in Eastern Europe. The Cold War is inconceivable without WW2.

April 5, 2009 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

That's too bad, because this is one of his weakest posts in my opinion.

I am not sure I can argue the point; after all, this post is free of Wands of Fnargl, cryptographic handguns, cowrie shells, kittendrives, that Venkatesh guy, assorted raving cracker historians' texts pried loose from the grip of print.google and other essential features.

April 5, 2009 at 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Lehuster said...

G.M. Pocketpool,

Yes, here is the truth, in front of my face. But I reject it.

The "true" part is that the British and the Americans sought detente with, and provided aid to, both the Nazis and the Soviets at different periods. In both cases these policies were defensible from a geopolitical standpoint if not a moral one. The false part, which should be rejected, is that such policies made the British or the Americans responsible for Nazi or Soviet aggression and atrocity. Such an argument does not "dispell the illusion", it creates a new illusion. It's not like there isn't enough anti-American, blame Uncle Sam first-last-and-always mendacity in the world already.

Is Mencius actually a Russian? This is exactly the argument a Russian would make - the US is not only to blame for its crimes, but is to blame for Russia's crimes as well.

You, sir, need to re-watch Godfather, Part II. Or, failing that, Powell's testimony on Iraqi weaponry.

You're making my point for me! The run up to Iraq is another example of why America is not a criminal regime. A criminal regime would not need to dress up the desire to invade Iraq with all sorts of legalistic blather and appeals to the UN. A criminal regime would simply invade. The US government, however, is accountable to the people and must follow the law, at least in principle, and thus contrives an elaborate charade to justify its actions.

Apparently you also need to rewatch everything The Chosen One has said.

If the Chosen One said our world leadership is based on moral supremacy, he's wrong and stupid about that as about so many other things. He's even more stupid if he thinks we can give up economic and military power and remain the world's leader. He probably really does think this, though - God help us all.

Studd,

It was the Russians that sought alliance with France more than the other way around.

Don't agree. The French were courting the Russians well before the Germans let the Reinsurance Treaty lapse - it's just the Russians weren't receptive to French advances before then. Doesn't really matter, though, since the main point is that German actions, and the fear they inspired in others, are what caused all the British / French / Russian "sponsoring".

Russia sponsored Serbia because they wanted a Balkan empire, not because of Germany.

Russia sponsored Serbia because Austria threatened Serbia and Germany sponsored Austria. All Germany had to do to avoid getting body slammed was restrain Austria.

The Progressives ostensibly went to war with the fascists because of their awful crimes, but the Bolsheviks committed FAR greater crimes and were never attacked.

I'm not familiar with a progressive history of WW2 that says we went to war only or even primarily because of the awful crimes of the fascists. There is no need to take such an approach, because they can (and do) take the approach that we went to war with the fascists primarily because they attacked us. The fascists were on the international warpath, and this was true well before the US started "provoking" them. The US did not provoke Japan into occupying Manchuria, or invading China, or occupying Indochina, or threatening to attack the USSR. The US did not provoke Germany into occupying Austria or Czechoslovakia, or attacking Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, France, Yugoslavia, Greece, or the USSR. The US provocations against Germany and Japan principally occurred between June and December 1941. We started kicking the Axis dog long after it had started biting a lot of other people, and needed to be put down.

Even if one accepts the view that we went to war with Fascism because of its awful crimes, going to war with one set of criminals in the world hardly obliges one to go to war with every possible criminal in the world.

A political movement truly interested in “making the world safe for democracy” would have listened to Patton and not stopped marching till they got to Moscow. The failure of the New Dealers to do so, or to even propagandize against the communists, suggests that democracy was not really what they were interested in.

"Making the world safe for democracy" was WW1, not WW2.

In any event, the resolution to defeat and democratize countries that attacked us hardly confers the obligation to defeat and democratize countries that have not attacked us, and whose assistance is essential to defeating the countries that did attack us. Morality does not command us to follow such a "consistent" policy, and such a policy would be insane as a practical matter.

The reason there was no aggressive anti-Soviet party in the US before WW2 was that the Soviets were not dangerous to anyone outside Russia before WW2. It was WW2 that made them a threat through technology transfer, turbo charging their economy, and giving them a massive empire in Eastern Europe. The Cold War is inconceivable without WW2.

Yes, of course. I will also observe that WW2 created a military industrial complex in the USA that did not exist before the war, and projected US forces overseas into positions of great power and influence. This engendered the creation of a political faction that wanted to employ and sustain that military-industrial complex and to take advantage of that overseas power and influence.

April 5, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger nazgulnarsil said...

I don't understand the continued attempt to make the nazi's into a reactionary movement when they were clearly liberal.

April 5, 2009 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Moshea bat Abraham said...

Lehuster,

Thank you for your very incisive comments. I love UR, but you're doing an excellent job of pointing out my few objections to Moldbug's theories.

April 5, 2009 at 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mencius: his [the conservative's] goal is to make democracy work properly. The fact that it does not work properly, has never worked properly, and will never work properly, sails straight over his head.

LeHuster: The US created more freedom and prosperity than any other nation in the history of mankind, but didn't work properly?

I'm not sure either of you get it. The US democratic republic worked properly when only white male property owners of Anglo-Saxon descent were allowed to vote.

Or maybe Mencius does get it, which is why he took that 90 degree turn to Guinea-Bissau/Cleveland there at the end.

--Senor Doug

April 6, 2009 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

MM gets it quite well,

We all know that the only time the republic "worked" (which is arguable, but. . .) was when suffrage was restricted.

But there is no way to fully or permanently restrict suffrage. It will always be in the interest of one party to increase the voting population -- ergo they will continue to do it at all possible times.

Therefore, democracy/republicanism doesn't work. That is, republicanism will always devolve into democracy, which will always devolve into socialism.

April 6, 2009 at 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'm not sure either of you get it. The US democratic republic worked properly when only white male property owners of Anglo-Saxon descent were allowed to vote.

When was that? There were non-Anglo whites in America since before the revolution, and I'm not aware that they were ever denied the franchise. And - here's the question that every non-Anglo theory of Anglo decline has to answer - if it worked so well, how did we get from there to here?

April 6, 2009 at 2:41 PM  
Anonymous togo said...

Well at least we're all agreed (except maybe for the Chinese guy)that FDR was a warmonger. So it's a question of when, if ever, warmongering is justifiable.

What is more, we all know that FDR must have been well informed of Soviet mass murder(though he may have been a type of "premature" holocaust denier) yet he had a soft spot for both Stalin and domestic Communists.But not for East European Jews or the British Empire.

The standard narrative is a religious one with Hitler as the Anti-Christ. Unit 731 and the Rape of Nanking are both items of common knowledge, but they are minor side issues except for the Chinese. Will the new film about the (naive) Nazi official who was "The Good Man of Nanking" be shown very widely in the US?

April 6, 2009 at 4:33 PM  
Anonymous togo said...

From George Morgenstern's PEARL HARBOR THE STORY OF THE SECRET WAR
P.126
(...)
The striking fact is that all of these statements promised Japan war with the United States if the Japanese attacked territory not belonging to the United States. Doonan threatened war on behalf of Britain and its dominions and colonies. Turner threatened war in behalf of Dutch and British colonies. Welles ruled out prospects of a peaceful settlement because Japan moved against Indochina, then the property of Vichy France. Roosevelt was thinking of the British empire lifeline when he gave his all-inclusive warning.
(...)

p.140
Quoting from the journals of Ambassador Grew:
For a prime minister of Japan thus to shatter all precedent and tradition in this land of precedent and tradition, and to wish to come hat in hand, so to speak, to meet the President of the United States on American soil, is a gauge of the determination of the government to undo the vast harm already accomplished in alienating our powerful and progressively angry country
FDR and Sec of State Hull kept stalling and demanded concessions in advance and the meeting never took place.

April 6, 2009 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

I think when we're at war all the leaders are devils.

April 6, 2009 at 7:27 PM  
Anonymous AG Marcus said...

Some good and some rather poor points, Lehuster. For example:

Mencius:
On the other hand, the Second German War - as well as the First - looks a lot more like a rebellion against said single world authority.

Lehuster:
How the hell can WW2 be a rebellion against something that did not exist in 1939, was only brought into existence because the Germans started WW2, and would never have existed if the Germans hadn't started the war???

Did not exist? I beg to differ.

Someone told a major power like Germany that while occupation of Czechoslovakia was OK it does not have permission to attack Poland. Similarily, Imperial Japan was told to play nice.

The source of these orders was the world authority.

Sure, you can argue that the British + USA were not really a world authority.
This is what the Germans and Japanese thought too, and look at what happened to them.


Mencius:
The fundamental argument on which USG rests its present legitimacy and its claims to "world leadership" is its moral supremacy.

Lehuster:
Really? I always thought it was economic and military superiority.
...
If the Chosen One said our world leadership is based on moral supremacy, he's wrong and stupid


Straw man or misunderstanding.
He is talking about the fundamental argument for the world leadership, not the fundamental reason for it.

April 7, 2009 at 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And - here's the question that every non-Anglo theory of Anglo decline has to answer - if it worked so well, how did we get from there to here?

Because Anglos are the most generous and optimistic people on the planet. They will build up an entire civilization for you, and then hand it back on a silver platter and decamp to their home lands. And when you undo the work of millenia in a couple of generations and have to come knocking at their door, they'll let you in.

Stupid Anglos.

--Senor Doug

April 7, 2009 at 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Lehuster said...

Did not exist? I beg to differ.

Someone told a major power like Germany that while occupation of Czechoslovakia was OK it does not have permission to attack Poland. Similarily, Imperial Japan was told to play nice.

The source of these orders was the world authority.

Sure, you can argue that the British + USA were not really a world authority.
This is what the Germans and Japanese thought too, and look at what happened to them.


There was no such thing as the "British + USA" in the 1930s. Still less was there a "UK + USA + USSR + China", which is what Roosevelt dreamed, during the war, would constitute the postwar world authority. The Germans and Japanese brought the world authority into being by attacking those four powers and forcing them together when previously they were, for all practical purposes, isolated from one another.

Germany was able to absorb Czechoslovakia and attack Poland, and Japan was able to attack China, precisely because the "world authority" did not exist. If not just Britain and France, but also the USA and USSR, had told Germany "hands off Poland and Czechoslovakia", then WW2 would never have happened. However, only Britain and France were guaranteeing CZ and Poland, and Hitler correctly thought he could defy Britain and France if those powers did not have either US or Soviet support.

One could perhaps argue that Germany and Japan were rebelling against the 1919-1939 "world authority" - the Versailles system created by Britain and France. This was an extremely weak "world authority" (and really, not a true world authority at all) because the US and USSR were not part of it. However, Germany and Japan were not rebelling against the "world authority" that came into being in 1945, which was the UN system created by the US, UK, and USSR. The two systems were fundamentally different for the obvious reason that the distribution of world power was fundamentally different after 1945 than it was from 1919-1939.

He is talking about the fundamental argument for the world leadership, not the fundamental reason for it.

Moral supremacy is not the fundamental argument because when it fails to achieve the desired result, we use the argument "do what we say or we'll nuke you" (e.g. Cuban Missile crisis) or "do what we say or kiss your economy goodbye" (e.g. Suez Crisis). The fundamental argument, when the gloves are off, is superior guns and money.

April 7, 2009 at 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Vladimir said...

AG Marcus:
Someone told a major power like Germany that while occupation of Czechoslovakia was OK it does not have permission to attack Poland. Similarily, Imperial Japan was told to play nice.

The source of these orders was the world authority.


Well, then you can extend your notion of "world authority" all the way back to the Peace of Westphalia, possibly even further back. What you call "world authority" is nothing more than several great powers forming a coalition against another power that has become too powerful and/or aggressive.

To name only the best known examples, similar "world authority" coalitions went to war in 1701 against the Bourbons, several times against Napoleon, and against Russia in 1853. Countless other times, wannabe-hegemons and expansionists were deterred by mere threats of coalitions formed to defend the status quo. (For example, the only reason Ottoman Empire lasted all the way until WW1 despite its utter decrepitude was that any 19th century great power that made a serious attempt to subdue it would have faced a coalition against it, because such a step would disturb the status quo too much -- as Russians learned to their detriment in 1853.)

Thus, it's preposterous to see some special and historically unprecedented attempt at playing "world authority" when Germany and Japan encountered opposition to their expansionist plans in the late 1930s. What *was* actually unprecedented was the level of cowardice and appeasement that they encountered before that.

April 7, 2009 at 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

G.M. Palmer, what you have said about the difficulty of restricting suffrage permanently is true for the United States, and has been true in western Europe since the mid-19th century.

However, it is not a universal truth. Things have not always been thus. The Venetian republic effectively restricted suffrage to those families listed in its Golden Book, and lasted for a thousand years. The doges were elected - albeit for life - by a complex and indirect process that makes the U.S. Electoral College seem a model of simplicity, while they were constitutionally more or less severely limited in their authority. That they were not above the law, and could be removed from office, is proved by the case of Marin Falier. The ultimate franchise always lay with the patriciate or senatorial class, as in the ancient Roman republic. Napoleon Bonaparte (a military dictator and self-proclaimed emperor), rather than creeping demotism, finally put an end to it.

The relative stability of La Serenissima seems to me to stand in contradiction of MM's neo-Hobbesian alternatives of absolutism or a democracy that ends inevitably in a brahmin nomenklatura riding to power on the shoulders of a lumpenprole mob. As an aristocratic republic, Venice survived longer than many absolute monarchies, and longer than the United States has existed.

There is nothing in principle to prevent conciliar republican government under a restricted franchise from surviving as long as it did in Venice, other than lack of adequate will on the part of its holders to preserve it.

April 7, 2009 at 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Rawls Blows said...

This comment is not exactly related to MM's latest post, but I would like to give a hand to MM for some of his earlier writings where he accurately described Rawls as basically a minister of mainline liberal Protestantism, Ultracalvinism, or Cryptocalvinism, etc.

Rawls seriously considered entering the Episcopalian priesthood in college, and the recent discovery of his undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton, entitled "A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith: An interpretation based on the concept of community" lays bare the religion that permeates Rawls' thought and work.

Of course leftist secular political theorists and academics are shocked that Rawls had such a big, personal connection to religion. They naively thought all along that Rawls was all and only about, you know, "reason" and "science" and all of that "correct" stuff.

You can read about this at the following links:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=3fc01184-53fe-4a3c-96fa-f27987d7b1e4

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article5931573.ece

http://www.takimag.com/sniperstower/article/the_religiosity_of_john_rawls/#When:17:49:05Z

April 7, 2009 at 3:26 PM  
Anonymous AG Marcus said...

Lehuster:
There was no such thing as the "British + USA" in the 1930s.

Not officially, no. Those two were already the two dominant powers at the time, and they had every intention to remain in that position.
While obviously they were not a single entity, they had common language, culture, history etc.
And most importantly common interests.

Therefore the Anglo-Saxon alliance was the logical and foreseeable outcome when the Axis powers refused to yield.

Even in 1930s, many people thought that the USA + UK alliance was basically inevitable, Churchill for example.
And they turned out to be right.

Perhaps their reasoning was something like this:

From the purely American point of view, if the Axis had effectively controlled everything outside the Western hemisphere, that would have been a horrendous disaster for us even if they swore never to set foot in our hemisphere. This outcome was worth fighting to stop!

Another point:

However, only Britain and France were guaranteeing CZ and Poland, and Hitler correctly thought he could defy Britain and France if those powers did not have either US or Soviet support.

There was nothing correct about it. Invading Poland was arguably the Rubicon moment for Hitler, and it was obviously a terrible mistake. WW2 started and ultimately Germany was defeated.

Lehore:
Germany was able to absorb Czechoslovakia and attack Poland, and Japan was able to attack China, precisely because the "world authority" did not exist.

Great powers who essentially wanted to maintain the status quo did exist, and they did have enough power to impose their will to wannabe powers in a worldwide scale.
The fact that some aggressions were tolerated proves only that:

1. They were clearly not omnipotent. It was about realpolitics, not true world domination.

2. Not all victims were equal. Tough break, Chinese.

Like I said, the idea that Germany "was able" to attack Poland is rather controversial.

You claim that the Franco-British system was extremely weak authority. Like I implied previously, it's strange argument to make when you look at how things turned out.

Hitler was crazy precisely because he did not stop when the British Empire put it's foot down.
When the push came to shove, the perfidious Albion was backed up by the US of A.
Besides, Imperial Britain was no joke. All German attempts to take the British out of the war failed decisively.
It was the biggest empire in the history of world after all.
Quarter of the world's population and all that.

-Yet it is generally accepted that Hitler was out of control for claiming Danzig from Poland.
Sure, he was not going to stop, but it's still a little bit ironic.

Lehuster:
Moral supremacy is not the fundamental argument because when it fails to achieve the desired result, we use the argument "do what we say or we'll nuke you"

Non sequitur. Moral superiority is not mutually exclusive with threats of violence, bribes, lies, warfare etc.

Virtually all people realize that sometimes the outcome justifies the means. Besides. what you are saying not even really true.
USA always finds a way to make things morally palatable to the public.
And why not?

There is no real reason for speaking like a thug even if you act like one:
"Speak softly and carry a big stick."

Vladimir:
Well, then you can extend your notion of "world authority" all the way back to the Peace of Westphalia, possibly even further back. What you call "world authority" is nothing more than several great powers forming a coalition against another power

Of course not. Westphalia was mostly about European, not global politics. Certainly the principle was the same: to establish some kind of order.

World authority = Superpower or a coalition that has the will and abity to tell virtually all other sovereign nations what to do.
When the strong give orders to the weak, are they not exercising authority?
If it happens in a global scale, term "world authority" is descriptive.

But I digress. Since "world authority" was a molbuggian rather that orthodox historical term, let's drop it. My justification for using it was this:

British Empire was one because of sheer unprecedented immensity of the empire, and because it was actively trying to manipulate the global balance of power.

USA was one (even before WW2) because it was hands down the most powerful country in the planet. If you look at the big picture, defeating "Imperial" Japan was basically a picnic for them.

Vladimir:
Thus, it's preposterous to see some special and historically unprecedented attempt at playing "world authority" when Germany and Japan encountered opposition to their expansionist plans in the late 1930s.

No, what is preposterous is the claim that the 20th century predation is in any way analogous to 19th century multipolar balance of power that was remarkably stable.

Certainly you agree that by the end of the century the change from the mainly Congress of Vienna-based system to a world dominated by single superpower is both historically unprecedented and worrisome.

The events before WW2 played a major part in this. If one simply looks at the number of nations who could claim to be world-class powers during the 20th century the pattern is clear.

April 8, 2009 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Michael S --

But what's to prevent the addition of names to the Golden Book -- or the revision of laws extending suffrage to those whose names are in the Silver Book and eventually the Copper, Bronze, Brass, Tin, Lead, and Paper Books?

April 8, 2009 at 4:38 AM  
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April 8, 2009 at 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Lehuster said...

Not officially, no.

Not even unofficially.

Those two were already the two dominant powers at the time, and they had every intention to remain in that position.

Firstly, they did not coordinate their policies to that effect. If they had, they probably would have deterred Germany and Japan from going to war in the first place.

Secondly, even after the war started, the US did not support the British remaining in a “dominant position”, and in fact actively undercut it.

And most importantly common interests.

The common interest was the defeat of Germany and Japan. Beyond that there was a severe disagreement on a wide range of issues relating to what the postwar world should look like. Most importantly they disagreed completely on how Germany and Japan should be treated, and whether postwar cooperation with the USSR would be possible. Other disagreements related to the future of the British and French Empires (the Americans wanted to dismantle them). Histories of WW2 written immediately after the war tried to paper over a lot of the disagreements and represent Anglo-American relations in wartime as beautifully unified, but it simply isn’t true.

Therefore the Anglo-Saxon alliance was the logical and foreseeable outcome when the Axis powers refused to yield.

That is not the same as a rebellion against a world authority.

Even in 1930s, many people thought that the USA + UK alliance was basically inevitable, Churchill for example. And they turned out to be right.

Chamberlain did not view a British alliance with America as the least bit logical or foreseeable in the 1930s. He thought the Americans could not be trusted and would do nothing to help him, and that was an important motive for appeasement. If he’d thought an alliance with America was logical and inevitable, he’d have been more inclined to stand up to Hitler.

Also, the alliance that most people in the 1930s thought was inevitable was not the same alliance that emerged during the war. The former was a hypothetical alliance of equals. The latter was sponsor-client relationship with America the sponsor and Britain the client.

There was nothing correct about it. Invading Poland was arguably the Rubicon moment for Hitler, and it was obviously a terrible mistake. WW2 started and ultimately Germany was defeated.

The “correct” part was thinking he could beat Poland and France if the USSR and America stood aside. If the USSR and America had backed Britain and France effectively, Hitler would have had no chance to beat even Poland and France, and probably wouldn’t even have started the war.

Great powers who essentially wanted to maintain the status quo did exist, and they did have enough power to impose their will to wannabe powers in a worldwide scale.

No. The powers who wanted to maintain the status quo, Britain and France, did not have the power to impose their will on the wannabes. The powers who did have the power to impose their will on the wannabes, were not status quo powers. The USA and especially the USSR did not benefit from the status quo that Britain and France established in 1919, and thus did not support it. Indeed, the Soviets actively tried to overturn the status quo, with Hitler as foil.

The fact that some aggressions were tolerated proves only that:
1. They were clearly not omnipotent. It was about realpolitics, not true world domination.
2. Not all victims were equal. Tough break, Chinese.


I don’t see how you or MM can view the attacks of predatory states (the Axis) on a coalition of status quo powers too weak to stop them (Britain and France) as “a revolt against the world authority”.

Like I said, the idea that Germany "was able" to attack Poland is rather controversial.

To understand it you have to ask, “under what conditions would Germany not be able to attack Poland?” Germany would not be able to attack Poland if a true world authority existed in 1939, consisting of Britain, France, the USA, and the USSR.

You claim that the Franco-British system was extremely weak authority. Like I implied previously, it's strange argument to make when you look at how things turned out.

Well, as things turned out, the British and French were destroyed as world powers as a result of World War II. Franco-British authority was weak in 1939 – or the Axis would never have attacked them – and was completely eclipsed in 1945. They were on the winning side, but they had no authority after 1945 that the Americans and Soviets did not allow them to have.

Hitler was crazy precisely because he did not stop when the British Empire put it's foot down.
When the push came to shove, the perfidious Albion was backed up by the US of A.


Hitler did not think he was attacking “Britain plus the USA”. He thought he could beat Poland and France, and cut a deal with Britain (or beat Britain) before the US entered the war. Then he could turn on the Soviets. Based on the situation in 1939, that was not a crazy view at all.

Besides, Imperial Britain was no joke. All German attempts to take the British out of the war failed decisively.
It was the biggest empire in the history of world after all.
Quarter of the world's population and all that.


The German efforts failed because Britain had American support. Without America, Britain would have had to sue for peace in late 1940. Even with American support, the “biggest empire” put relatively few troops in the field. Most of the Empire was a strategic liability, not an asset. The British had to devote more resources to defending India than they ever got out of it to use elsewhere.

Non sequitur. Moral superiority is not mutually exclusive with threats of violence, bribes, lies, warfare etc.

The issue is what is the fundamental argument. When moral persuasion fails, you can fall back on the guns. When the guns fail, you can’t fall back on moral persuasion.

USA always finds a way to make things morally palatable to the public.

If we have actually convinced ourselves that this delusion is true, it still doesn’t make it true. We will discover this to our dismay if we try to give up the guns and rely on moral persuasion alone.

World authority = Superpower or a coalition that has the will and abity to tell virtually all other sovereign nations what to do.

That does not describe Britain and France in the 1930s.

USA was one (even before WW2) because it was hands down the most powerful country in the planet. If you look at the big picture, defeating "Imperial" Japan was basically a picnic for them.

The US was not an “authority” before WW2 outside the western hemisphere, because it lacked both the capability to act, the intention and desire to act, and any semblance of legal or moral justification to act outside its hemisphere. It had all of these things after 1945, and was thus a world authority then but not before.

No, what is preposterous is the claim that the 20th century predation is in any way analogous to 19th century multipolar balance of power that was remarkably stable.

The 20th century is proof that the 19th century balance of power was not, in fact, stable.

April 8, 2009 at 1:22 PM  
Anonymous AG Marcus said...

Not even unofficially.

Yet the Anglo-American alliance against Germany happened both in WW1 and in WW2.
Either the Germans were just really unlucky or the dice were loaded against them.

The common interest was the defeat of Germany and Japan. Beyond that there was a severe disagreement on a wide range of issues

Well, I'm not arguing "beyond that". If the common interests were at some point going to dictate that the Axis are defeated then that was a good enough reason for Hitler to respect a British ultimatum.

Of course, if one wants to start talking about the problems of US-UK alliance in detail, one can also insist that the political disagreements within Britain are covered.

The political parties in the British parliament disagreed with a wide range of issues regarding the aftermath of war.

The Labour thought that it would be a good idea to gradually disband the Empire and to transform Great Britain to a pathetic, anarcho-tyrannical welfare state we are seeing today.

Conservatives, mainly Churchill, wanted to maintain law and order within the Empire and to maintain status as a great power if possible.

The Labour won the 1945 election.

My point being this: When you say that the US undermined British interests you are mostly talking about conservative interests.

After all, being the friendly moral superpower it is, the US just helped the British public to get what they wanted!

According to mainstream or leftist historical view, it was all rather benevolent. Friends don't let friends to practice the evils of imperialism.

But this is somewhat off-topic.

Germany would not be able to attack Poland if a true world authority existed in 1939, consisting of Britain, France, the USA, and the USSR.
...
How the hell can WW2 be a rebellion against something that did not exist in 1939


OK. You are making many good points but the WA question is obviously going nowhere. Your position seems to be that:

1. WW2 was not a rebellion against world authority because there was no such thing. Status quo powers were not one when the Axis powers were given the orders to "cease and desist".

2. The fact that Germany (and later Japan) ignored it, attacked Poland and started WW2 proves that there were no such thing as a true world authority.
True world authority would have prevented it.

3. Therefore, the Allies were not a world authority in 1939.

In short, WW2 was not a rebellion against authority because it happened, and because it happened there was no authority?

Either the reasoning is circular or the concept was an impossibility in the first place.

Perhaps it's about the definition of a true authority.
For example, King Charles I lost his head in the Glorious Revolution, therefore he was never a true authority as the sovereign of England, right?

Besides, the definition for the "true" WA is obviously subjective.

Why does it has to be something that disrespects the divine authority of the Japanese Emperor and German interests.

How about a world authority which restores the Stuart line on the English throne and liberates the CSA from the illegal Union occupation. Now That would be a real world authority.

The powers who did have the power to impose their will on the wannabes, were not status quo powers

In that case, you are just using more complex definition for "status quo power" than I am. International prestige, perhaps? I was talking in crude, literal sense. At least top 5 countries in terms of raw industrial capacity are by definition major powers when it comes to existing state of affairs.
Steel output is often used in that era as a ballpark measurement, therefore in 1939:

1. USA 51 million tons
2. Germany 23
3. USSR 19
4. UK + dominions 17
5. France and Japan tied with roughly 6 million tons each

UK was telling the second largest power in the world how to behave, while nobody was telling the British how to treat the Irish, for example.

What more can you ask.
British were acting like a major authority, that's for sure.

In current terms, imagine someone telling the Chinese to recognize the independence of Taiwan, but the Chinese refuse.
Does that prove that the someone in question is in fact, an extremely weak authority?
-Of course not.

Regarding the war, British were routed at first, they barely survived the battle for Britain, the V-day was mainly achieved with the help of USSR and USA and in the end it was a textbook case of Pyrrhic victory.

I'm agreeing with all that, but it still does not describe someone who is "extremely weak".

Unless you scale the terminology across the board. Then, the strongest country in the world becomes "weak", number 2 is "very weak" and so on. It sounds rather silly.

The issue is what is the fundamental argument. When moral persuasion fails, you can fall back on the guns. When the guns fail, you can’t fall back on moral persuasion.


I'm attempting to explain the misunderstanding for the third and last time. Politicians, diplomats and the like make arguments, guns kill.
You can claim that B-52 carpet bombing an enemy city is "making an argument" but that's non-standard use.

"Fundamental" just means that the assumption of American moral superiority is always present in official rhetoric. In other words "we" are always the good guys in propaganda (Well, duh). The quality of US propaganda also happens to be quite high. BTW, I didn't mean to claim that it is always succesful. My bad.

No one ever said that the US dominance is not due to power or that it would be a good idea to give it away.

As a traditional conservative I maintain that it is the moral duty of the US to maintain superior firepower.
Since Mencius is a reactionary who thinks that the US is actually not a moral superpower he possibly disagrees.

April 9, 2009 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

G.M. Palmer - I do not know the particulars of how families acquired the franchise in the Venetian republic, but the historical fact remains that it was not promiscuously extended during the 1000 years it lasted.

Whether some sort of formal obstacle to such extension existed is not of great importance, because those that have the authority to make laws also have the authority to unmake them. That there was never a significant alteration in the Venetian franchise reflected the governing elite's lack of interest in changing it. Unlike various elite factions in the United States and some other places, they saw no advantage accruing to themselves in so doing.

April 9, 2009 at 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Lehuster said...

Yet the Anglo-American alliance against Germany happened both in WW1 and in WW2.
Either the Germans were just really unlucky or the dice were loaded against them.


Or, the Germans brought the alliance into being both times through their own diplomatic incompetence and military aggression, without which no such alliance would have existed either time. There was nothing natural or inevitable about it either time.

If the common interests were at some point going to dictate that the Axis are defeated then that was a good enough reason for Hitler to respect a British ultimatum.

He perceived a window of opportunity to secure European hegemony before the US was willing and able to act. It was not unreasonable to think this.

When you say that the US undermined British interests you are mostly talking about conservative interests.

No, it undermined all of them beyond the basic interest of national survival. No British political party, not even Labour, had an interest in Britain being less powerful and stripped of its Empire.

According to mainstream or leftist historical view, it was all rather benevolent. Friends don't let friends to practice the evils of imperialism.

Not exactly. The Leftist historical view is we wanted to get rid of the British and French empires so we could replace them with our own. A new form of greedy aggressive hegemony, same wine different bottle.

Either the reasoning is circular or the concept was an impossibility in the first place.

World War II was not a rebellion against World Authority unless the “1930s World Authority” is defined as “Britain and France”. The 1930s World Authority clearly did not include the USA, the USSR, or China, and in my view “World Authority” is a misnomer for a coalition that does not include the US, the USSR, and China. In the 1930s, the USA and the USSR did not want to restrain the Axis, so long as the Axis attacked somebody besides Russia and did not completely defeat Britain or China. If we define the 1930s World Authority as “Britain and France”, then this WA was extremely weak because Britain and France lacked the will and the capability to restrain Axis aggression.

Perhaps it's about the definition of a true authority.
For example, King Charles I lost his head in the Glorious Revolution, therefore he was never a true authority as the sovereign of England, right?


The Glorious Revolution was James II in 1688, not Charles I in 1649. =)

Anyway, it is different if you are talking about what happens inside countries rather than between countries. A country has an acknowledged authority - a sovereign - that's what it means to be a country. When Parliament challenged Charles' authority, it was very properly described as a rebellion. There is no sovereign authority - no king - in the international system. Germany, Italy, and Japan owed allegiance to no higher authority, and therefore it is not proper to speak of them "rebelling" against authority. Attacking Anglo-French hegemony, yes, but Anglo-French hegemony was not a world authority and it was not “rebellion” to attack it.

Besides, the definition for the "true" WA is obviously subjective.

Your definition is good enough: "World authority = Superpower or a coalition that has the will and abity to tell virtually all other sovereign nations what to do." I don't think this describes Britain and France in 1939. In 1939, the British and French lacked the will to tell the worthless, greasy, pasta-slurping Eyeties what to do! "WA" does describe the post-1945 UN Security Council (when they choose to act together), and in certain instances it describes the US all by itself after 1945.

In that case, you are just using more complex definition for "status quo power" than I am. International prestige, perhaps?

No, my definition is very simple. Status quo powers are those who desire the existing state of international affairs to continue. They are satisfied with the current borders and the current distribution of power between states. In 1939, Britain and France were status quo powers. Germany, Japan, Italy, the USSR, and the USA were not. All but the USA wanted to expand territorially. The US was not satisfied with Anglo-French domination of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, and was happy to see it destroyed so long as Britain and China remained in the game. The Soviets wanted to deflect Axis attacks onto others (they wanted Japan to attack China, and Germany to attack the Anglo-French) in the hope that this would cripple all the combatants and leave them vulnerable to subsequent Soviet expansion.

I was talking in crude, literal sense. At least top 5 countries in terms of raw industrial capacity are by definition major powers when it comes to existing state of affairs.
Steel output is often used in that era as a ballpark measurement, therefore in 1939:
1. USA 51 million tons
2. Germany 23
3. USSR 19
4. UK + dominions 17
5. France and Japan tied with roughly 6 million tons each


The problem here is that not all these countries were mobilized for war in the 1930s, so their potential production implicit in the steel figures did not translate into usable military power, particularly in the American case.

British were acting like a major authority, that's for sure.

The British were hoping to revise Versailles and mollify German grievances without going to war, because the British were weak and unready for war. A strong power would not fear war. A strong power would not have thrown Czechoslovakia under the bus. A strong power would have a mighty Army in Europe and a mighty Fleet in the Pacific at the same time.

In current terms, imagine someone telling the Chinese to recognize the independence of Taiwan, but the Chinese refuse. Does that prove that the someone in question is in fact, an extremely weak authority? Of course not.

A more exact analogy would be if the US guaranteed Taiwanese independence but China attacked it anyway. This would only come to pass if US authority was very weak indeed.

I'm agreeing with all that, but it still does not describe someone who is "extremely weak".

If they were strong they would have been prepared to defeat Germany, Italy, and Japan all at the same time. As it was Germany defeated them on land and Japan defeated them at sea.

Unless you scale the terminology across the board. Then, the strongest country in the world becomes "weak", number 2 is "very weak" and so on. It sounds rather silly.

You are still left with explaining why Britain and France, if they were so strong, did not even have enough authority to get Italy to obey them.

I'm attempting to explain the misunderstanding for the third and last time. Politicians, diplomats and the like make arguments, guns kill.

I'm trying to explain to you, without success it seems, that actually using guns, or merely threatening to use them, and often merely having them without even threatening to use them, is a political argument. That is what guns are for! Guns do not exist simply to kill for the sake of killing, guns exist to impose your political will on others, i.e. to get them to accept your arguments. Moreover, military force is a political argument that in the last analysis supersedes moral arguments.

You can claim that B-52 carpet bombing an enemy city is "making an argument" but that's non-standard use.

That is exactly “standard usage” according to Clausewitz!

"Fundamental" just means that the assumption of American moral superiority is always present in official rhetoric. In other words "we" are always the good guys in propaganda (Well, duh). The quality of US propaganda also happens to be quite high. BTW, I didn't mean to claim that it is always succesful. My bad.

Our military power is a more fundamental argument because everyone understands that our military power backs our highfalutin' moral rhetoric, and if you don't accept our moral arguments we might decide to come and pound on you. How much good would our "moral supremacy" do if we didn't have military power to back it up?

As a traditional conservative I maintain that it is the moral duty of the US to maintain superior firepower.

There we agree.

April 10, 2009 at 7:41 AM  
Anonymous P.M.Lawrence said...

Malchus X wrote "On a sojourn to Recycled Books in Denton, Texas...".

FYI, a sojourn is a stay, not a journey. You may have been sojourning in Denton, but you were certainly not sojourning to anywhere.

Vladimir wrote 'None of the American "provocations" that supposedly pushed Japan into WW2 ever had any effect except making them choose between downsizing the empire and entering an insane suicidal war with the U.S.'.

Well... that "downsizing" included a considerable risk of vast amounts of men and materiel being cut off and destroyed in China. (That's not an attempt to excuse or justify their being there in the first place, of course.)

C23 wrote "...the Japanese and the Germans had other options besides sneak-attacking and declaring war on the US. If the Japanese had just taken the oil-rich Dutch East Indies without attacking the US first,...".

But if they hadn't taken out the US out of area capability, the USA could have moved significant forces to Singapore and the East Indies to block any further advance before the Japanese could get through Indochina, Siam (as it then was) and Malaya. Basically, the USA could have moved the trigger and not lost so much of its ability to project force.

Anonymous of April 4, 2009 2:33 PM wrote "Japan had to attack south to secure the oil in Indonesia".

There was no Indonesia then (Lehuster also gets this wrong below - where he also confuses Britain and England).

Lehuster asks "The US created more freedom and prosperity than any other nation in the history of mankind, but didn't work properly?"

The short answer is that it didn't create more freedom and prosperity than any other nation in the history of mankind. Be careful to distinguish between creating and gaining at others' expense, which it did in both categories.

There are a lot of misunderstandings in "We provoked Japan and Germany precisely because we were not a criminal regime! A criminal regime does not need to engineer an elaborate provocation in order to go to war. A criminal regime simply declares war. Only a state where laws prevail and the government must take the people's wishes into account (i.e. not a criminal regime) has to force the enemy to fire the first shot." A criminal regime does not even declare war, if it has what it takes just to make war - but if it hasn't, it may still do all those other things. Contriving a provocation is a mark of hypocrisy and/or internal or external weakness, not of lack of criminality. That's also what's wrong with his later "The run up to Iraq is another example of why America is not a criminal regime. A criminal regime would not need to dress up the desire to invade Iraq with all sorts of legalistic blather and appeals to the UN. A criminal regime would simply invade. The US government, however, is accountable to the people and must follow the law, at least in principle, and thus contrives an elaborate charade to justify its actions."

AG Marcus has been amply refuted about 'There was no such thing as the "British + USA" in the 1930s. Not officially, no. Those two were already the two dominant powers at the time, and they had every intention to remain in that position. While obviously they were not a single entity, they had common language, culture, history etc. And most importantly common interests. Therefore the Anglo-Saxon alliance was the logical and foreseeable outcome when the Axis powers refused to yield.' by Lehuster.

However, there were people like Sir Lionel Curtis who thought it was practical and desirable to bring about such interests and outcomes. Also, Lehuster is mistaken in thinking that "...they [France and Britain] had no authority after 1945 that the Americans and Soviets did not allow them to have"; that change occurred some time between 1945 and Suez in 1956. 'Even with American support, the "biggest empire" put relatively few troops in the field' is also wrong; Churchill records that clear up until D-Day there were more British and Commonwealth forces in the field than U.S. forces.

AG Marcus overstates "Regarding the war, British were routed at first, they barely survived the battle for Britain...". Britain was able to keep up out of area activity against the Axis throughout the war, with reverses but with more success (Near and Middle East, East Africa, North Africa). This was rather more than "barely survived".

April 13, 2009 at 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Lehuster said...

There was no Indonesia then (Lehuster also gets this wrong below).Well, Mr. Pedantic Smartypants, in point of fact the use of "Indonesia" as a geographic expression long predates the independence of the nation of Indonesia. The word "Indonesia" was commonly used before 1945. Here, for example, is a NYT headline from November 1944: "563 Japanese Slain in Indonesia". Gee, didn't the NYT know that "there was no Indonesia then"? Furthermore, professional historians, even Dutch ones, use the term Indonesia when describing and analyzing the period before 1945 when there was "no Indonesia" (see, for example, this, this, and this).

In short, you are completely wrong, and a jackass to boot.

where he also confuses Britain and EnglandTake it up with MM. He used "England" for "Great Britain" repeatedly in his original post. When I used it, it was in reference to what he said. Of course, only someone with Asperger Syndrome would make an issue of this in the first place.

The short answer is that it didn't create more freedom and prosperity than any other nation in the history of mankind.Yes, it did. I challenge you to provide an example of a nation that provided more freedom or prosperity.

A criminal regime does not even declare war, if it has what it takes just to make warNazi Germany and Stalin's USSR both declared war on various countries even when they had what it took to make war.

Contriving a provocation is a mark of hypocrisy and/or internal or external weakness, not of lack of criminality.Political leaders in a democracy must obey the law and convince the legislature and the electorate to follow them. That was true in 2003 as much as it was in 1941, and this is what drove the need to create a provocation in 1941. If these requirements are marks of weakness and hypocrisy in your mind, so be it, but needless to say I disagree. In the 2003 case, if Bush had been the evil, criminal, fascist Bushitler that the loony Left said he was, he would simply have invaded. Nothing could stop him, least of all Iraq itself. Only the requirement to act within the law and to persuade Congress and the voters led him to do what he did.

Lehuster is mistaken in thinking that "...they [France and Britain] had no authority after 1945 that the Americans and Soviets did not allow them to have"; that change occurred some time between 1945 and Suez in 1956.Wrong. Britain was completely dependent on the US after 1941, and Churchill knew it. Most prominent in British minds during the war was how appalling Britain's financial situation would be after the war, and the urgent need to continue American aid after the war. During the war, the Americans used aid and financial power to extract concessions from the British on many fronts, including the organization of the postwar international economic system, postwar relations with the USSR and postwar treatment of Germany. The idea that Britain had any meaningful political independence after 1941 simply flies in the face of the facts. The British had to do what the Americans wanted, and only had the authority that America permitted them to have.

'Even with American support, the "biggest empire" put relatively few troops in the field' is also wrong; Churchill records that clear up until D-Day there were more British and Commonwealth forces in the field than U.S. forces.The US armed forces were already twice as big as the British Empire's in 1943, and no doubt Churchill is not counting US air and naval forces in the Pacific in his calculation. The British Empire was large in geography and population, but the majority of the population (non-white colonial subjects) was simply useless.

In WW2 Germany, roughly 18 million out of a population of 69 million served in the armed forces (26%). In the USSR, 34 million out of a population of 169 million served in the armed forces (20%). The British Empire (UK, non-white colonies, and white dominions) had a population of over 460 million. If the British Empire had mobilized 20-25% of their population, as did Germany and the USSR, then around 100 million would have served in the British Empire's armed forces. Actual mobilization of the Empire was not anywhere close to this (around 15 million). It should be obvious even to you that the reason for this is that most of the population of the British Empire was a useless liability. As I said, the Empire was large but it put relatively few troops in the field relative to its population.

The number of British troops in the field is also misleading as an indication of "British power", for the obvious reason that the British couldn't have put that many troops in the field without American aid and support.

April 14, 2009 at 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Lehuster said...

There was no Indonesia then (Lehuster also gets this wrong below).Well, Mr. Pedantic Smartypants, in point of fact the use of "Indonesia" as a geographic expression long predates the independence of the nation of Indonesia. The word "Indonesia" was commonly used before 1945. Here, for example, is a NYT headline from November 1944: "563 Japanese Slain in Indonesia". Gee, didn't the NYT know that "there was no Indonesia then"? Furthermore, professional historians, even Dutch ones, use the term Indonesia when describing and analyzing the period before 1945 when there was "no Indonesia" (see, for example, this, this, and this).

In short, you are completely wrong, and a jackass to boot.

where he also confuses Britain and EnglandTake it up with MM. He used "England" for "Great Britain" repeatedly in his original post. When I used it, it was in reference to what he said. Of course, only someone with Asperger Syndrome would make an issue of this in the first place.

The short answer is that it didn't create more freedom and prosperity than any other nation in the history of mankind.Yes, it did. I challenge you to provide an example of a nation that provided more freedom or prosperity.

A criminal regime does not even declare war, if it has what it takes just to make warNazi Germany and Stalin's USSR both declared war on various countries even when they had what it took to make war.

Contriving a provocation is a mark of hypocrisy and/or internal or external weakness, not of lack of criminality.Political leaders in a democracy must obey the law and convince the legislature and the electorate to follow them. That was true in 2003 as much as it was in 1941, and this is what drove the need to create a provocation in 1941. If these requirements are marks of weakness and hypocrisy in your mind, so be it, but needless to say I disagree. In the 2003 case, if Bush had been the evil, criminal, fascist Bushitler that the loony Left said he was, he would simply have invaded. Nothing could stop him, least of all Iraq itself. Only the requirement to act within the law and to persuade Congress and the voters led him to do what he did.

Lehuster is mistaken in thinking that "...they [France and Britain] had no authority after 1945 that the Americans and Soviets did not allow them to have"; that change occurred some time between 1945 and Suez in 1956.Wrong. Britain was completely dependent on the US after 1941, and Churchill knew it. Most prominent in British minds during the war was how appalling Britain's financial situation would be after the war, and the urgent need to continue American aid after the war. During the war, the Americans used aid and financial power to extract concessions from the British on many fronts, including the organization of the postwar international economic system, postwar relations with the USSR and postwar treatment of Germany. The idea that Britain had any meaningful political independence after 1941 simply flies in the face of the facts. The British had to do what the Americans wanted, and only had the authority that America permitted them to have.

'Even with American support, the "biggest empire" put relatively few troops in the field' is also wrong; Churchill records that clear up until D-Day there were more British and Commonwealth forces in the field than U.S. forces.The US armed forces were already twice as big as the British Empire's in 1943, and no doubt Churchill is not counting US air and naval forces in the Pacific in his calculation. The British Empire was large in geography and population, but the majority of the population (non-white colonial subjects) was simply useless.

In WW2 Germany, roughly 18 million out of a population of 69 million served in the armed forces (26%). In the USSR, 34 million out of a population of 169 million served in the armed forces (20%). The British Empire (UK, non-white colonies, and white dominions) had a population of over 460 million. If the British Empire had mobilized 20-25% of their population, as did Germany and the USSR, then around 100 million would have served in the British Empire's armed forces. Actual mobilization of the Empire was not anywhere close to this (around 15 million). It should be obvious even to you that the reason for this is that most of the population of the British Empire was a useless liability. As I said, the Empire was large but it put relatively few troops in the field relative to its population.

The number of British troops in the field is also misleading as an indication of "British power", for the obvious reason that the British couldn't have put that many troops in the field without American aid and support.

April 14, 2009 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

Short history of the 20th century.

1900 White race: Its about ideology.

White race fights itself and lets non-white races invade it and bulge in population.

Actually it was about race, genes, and population, just like the previous 3 billion years. This planet is governed by biological laws of evolution and mathematical laws of population genetics not by laws of politics or ideology, that is except when the white race got it wrong in the 20th century.

A united white race West under any of its forms of governments in 1900 would have done just fine in the 20th century.

Isn't that the real history?

History of 21st century:

a) Whites wake up and fight like a race, expelling all invaders

or

b) White race takes more of the same as in 20th and is finished.

April 22, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Did the Anglo-American system (AAS) originate in England?

The usual effect when the AAS is newly transplanted into a land is an increase in disorder. Maybe the English Civil War occurred as a result of the AAS being transplanted away from its natural home in Lotharingia, i.e., Amsterdam and Geneva.

April 26, 2009 at 10:55 PM  

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