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  • Learning from Experience, Not

    Posted by David Foster on November 21st, 2020 (All posts by )

    A high-school friend had a father who worked in a factory.  He had a story…it seems there was this guy who got his left arm caught in one of the machines and horribly mangled.  He was out for months, and when he came back, the other workers crowded around him, asking “How did it happen?”

    “Like this,” he said, demonstrating with the other arm.

    Maybe just a made-up story…but I’m reminded of it a lot, these days.

    We have a century of evidence of what happens to a society when it falls into the traps of centralized economic planning, suppression of free speech, and the categorization of people–especially ethnic categorization.  But an awful lot of people, including powerful and influential people, seem to want to go in these directions.

    I can have some sympathy for people who became Communists and/or advocates of world government back in the 1920s.  The theory of centralized economic planning is very seductive (see this, for the actual practice), and the slaughter of the First World War led people to grasp at any possible way of avoiding such horrors in the future.

    I have a lot less sympathy for people who have refused to learn from a century of experience.

    In Walter Miller’s great novel A Canticle for Leibowitz, a global nuclear was has devastated everything.  Over a period of centuries, civilization has been gradually rebuilt…and, once again, nuclear war threatens.  The abbot of a monastery speaks plaintively:

    …“Brothers, let us not assume that there is going to be war…We all know what could happen, if there’s war.  The genetic festering is still with us from the last time Man tried to eradicate himself.  Back then, in the Saint Leibowitz’ time, maybe they didn’t know what would happen.  Or perhaps they did know, but could not quite believe it until they tried it—like a child who knows what a loaded pistol is supposed to do but who never pulled a trigger before.  They had not yet seen a billion corpses.  They had not seen the still-born, the monstrous, the dehumanized, the blind.  They had not yet seen the madness and the murder and the blotting out of reason.  Then they did it, and then they saw it.”

    “Now—now the princes, the presidents, the praesidiums, not they know—with dead certainty.  They can know it by the children they beget and send to asylums for the deformed.  They know it, and they’ve kept the peace.  Not Christ’s peace, certainly, but peace, until lately—with only two warlike incidents in as many centuries.  Now they have the bitter certainty.  My sons, they cannot do it again.  Only a race of madmen could do it again—”

    And we today, know, with what should be dead certainty, where Communist and Fascist approaches to the organization of society lead.  We have seen the hundreds of million corpses, the suppression of spirit, the needless impoverishment.  Surely, only a race of madmen could do it again…

     

    37 Responses to “Learning from Experience, Not”

    1. Brian Says:

      Envy is the most powerful emotion, always has been, since the Garden of Eden.
      America from 1776 to 1990 was the most miraculous achievement in human history. A generation from now no one will remember what it was like in the good times…

    2. Mike K Says:

      I agree with Brian. I had hopes with Trump that the remorseless trek to the abyss could be slowed or even stopped.

      I posted this in 2017.

      This is the group that will govern us unless a miracle occurs.

      Though the Obama administration tried to cover up the full extent of the website failure in the days following its launch, the lengthy HHS document tells a tale of complete collapse. It was forced out of this secretive administration by our November 25, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Judicial Watch filed suit after HHS refused to respond to our October 7, 2013, FOIA request seeking the following information:

      Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the number of individuals that purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov between October 1, 2013, and October 4, 2013.

      A simple request – that was stonewalled for over six months. Now we know why. This document shows that, on its first full day of operation, October 1, 2013, Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov received only one enrollment! That’s one – out of 334 million Americans. On the second day, 48% of registrations failed to process.

      Billions were spent on this disaster. The Oregon state program failed completely.

      Our betters.

    3. MCS Says:

      I wish I was able to rebut your main point but its aptness is depressingly apparent.

      I did personally witness an example of your opening illustration. An acquaintance had his arm horribly mangled when he tried to pull carrot tops out of the drive roller of a conveyor belt without stopping it. After several years of failed rehab, it was decided that he was better with it amputated and a prosthesis. I happened upon him as he was working on a tractor by himself and with the engine running, had managed to get his remaining hand trapped. I was able to extricate him before any serious injury happened. I latter heard that I wasn’t the only one.

      Some people are immune to experience, I think of them them as experiencing a brand new world every day. Being largely exempt from the burdens and annoyances of quotidian existence, the political class has become a prime example.

    4. David Foster Says:

      Brian…envy is certainly a big part of it, but there are other things going on as well. Jack Dorsey of Twitter, for example, certainly doesn’t need to envy anybody. I personally know people who are in the upper 1/2 to 1/10 % of income & wealth who are either quite happy to go along with Wokeness, or are very aggressive in their advocacy of same.

    5. JaimeRoberto Says:

      They meant well. It will be different this time. We just need the right people in charge. (Joking)

    6. Anonymous Says:

      “Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.”

      This basically describes America today. Your deep state that just took its ball back is a “totalitarian one-party state” and you pass the leadership back and forth between your two parties. Well you did until the Donald came along. Now its back to normal. The armed conflict part is kinda what you do all over the world, you have perhaps 800 bases scattered about the world. You respond effectively to economic difficulties by printing money. The fed is pure fascism.

      “America from 1776 to 1990 was the most miraculous achievement in human history.”

      Yes, you were the only county in the world that entered the industrial age with a virgin continent to rape, and you did. You had a huge advantage, and look at you now. ;)

    7. PenGun Says:

      Yeah that’s me. I did post a link to the wordpress deal to make logins have persistence, but Jonathan will not implement it.

    8. Mike K Says:

      PenGun, your second comment was unnecessary. We all knew who it was by the tone. Who else comes here who hates America?

      Some people are immune to experience, I think of them them as experiencing a brand new world every day. Being largely exempt from the burdens and annoyances of quotidian existence, the political class has become a prime example.

      When I ran the burn service at LA County hospital back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, I admitted a Mexican-American who had 30% burns, about half third degree (requiring skin grafts). I asked him what happened and he explained that he was scrubbing his kitchen floor with gasoline when the water heater pilot light ignited it.

      As I examined him, I saw what looked like skin graft donor site marks on his thighs. Those marks on someone with pigmented skin are lighter in color and are rectangular. The thigh is a favored site for skin grafts to be taken. I asked him if he had been burned before. “Yes,” he said. “How did that happen,” I asked.

      “Same Way,” he said. Maybe a future in politics?

    9. Brian Says:

      Well the question is why societies go socialist, and the fact that someone like Dorsey (who clearly is a totalitarian lunatic) is motivated by power not monetary envy doesn’t change the fact that envy is the main driving factor.

    10. Ginny Says:

      David,

      Appreciate your post and your perspective, it is wise and heartening. Mourn that it isn’t held by so many in positions of power (& apparently money – given the kind of fund-raising the Democrats can do). Under Trump our society was dynamic and alive, the death of openness will lead to more stasis and may not overthrow the Dorseys at the top as a more open society would. But that is amazingly short sighted, we remember the titans of another era who hadn’t the luxuries of the poorest of ours do – vaccinations, air conditioning, open heart surgery, cars, phones. But also the ability to open up your computer and talk to people all over the world. This stops, as does scientific exploration: communism admired Lysenko, the free markets take Borlaug for granted. Has anyone provided proof that Head Start works? And yet how much weight will the teachers’ unions have in a Biden cabinet.

      I can see why people are turning from Fox – every announcer quotes those in charge of the elections who tell them that all is good; Biden is likely to be president and some of Trump’s advocates do seem hyperbolic, but looking at the affidavits of the Michigan canvassers does not indicate “all is good” nor do uncreased absentee ballots bode well. They just had Nixon’s grandson talking about his grandfather’s choice – I’m not so sure that ignoring that clear vote fraud set us on the best path, as problematic as Nixon might have been. The assumption of both grandson and interviewer was that fraud probably put Kennedy in office, then they blithely discuss how much smoother the transition was because Nixon wasn’t positive he could prove fraud in Texas, where LBJ had done it before.

    11. Sgt. Mom Says:

      “Yes, you were the only county in the world that entered the industrial age with a virgin continent to rape, and you did. You had a huge advantage, and look at you now. ;)”

      I guess Canada, Australia and New Zealand don’t really count as full continents.

    12. PenGun Says:

      Yes Sgt Mom, we all got bits of continents, at around the same time. Canada, Australia and New Zealand were all British colonies who did not rebel in a direct way against their masters. We all achieved independence recently, after the second world war, for both Australia and New Zealand and we in Canada did not get full independence till the 80s.

      The end of the British Empire really, was our when our independence became a fact. Canada is only fertile for a hundred miles or so above the boarder and while we have vast resources in our north its not an easy way to make money. In Canada about 7% of our country is good farmland. New Zealand is pretty small and Australia is largely desert. So not really comparable in any real way.

      Its the pure narcissism of statements like this : “since the Garden of Eden America from 1776 to 1990 was the most miraculous achievement in human history.” that define your country now.

    13. David Foster Says:

      re the motivations for ‘progressive’ fanaticism, here’s historian Friedrich Meinecke, in his book ‘The German Catastrophe,’ in which he cites a friends’ comments about some Germans who supported the Nazi movement:

      “It often happens nowdays…that young technicians, engineers, and so forth, who have enjoyed an excellent university training as specialists, will completely devote themselves to their calling for ten or fifteen years and without looking either to the right or to the left will try only to be first-rate specialists. But then, in their middle or late thirties, something they have never felt before awakens in them, something that was never really brought to their attention in their education–something that we would call a suppressed metaphysical desire. Then they rashly seize upon any sort of ideas and activities, anything that is fashionable at the moment and seems to them important for the welfare of individuals–whether it be anti-alcoholism, agricultural reform, eugenics, or the occult sciences. The former first-rate specialist changes into a kind of prophet, into an enthusiast, perhaps even into a fanatic and monomaniac. Thus arises the type of man who wants to reform the world.”

      I think we are seeing quite a lot of this in America today.

    14. Xennady Says:

      The assumption of both grandson and interviewer was that fraud probably put Kennedy in office, then they blithely discuss how much smoother the transition was because Nixon wasn’t positive he could prove fraud in Texas, where LBJ had done it before.

      But but…I have been assured that there is no fraud this time, none at all.

      Why could they possibly be discussing it, these days? Hmmm…

      Anyway, I recall that Trump wanted to take action against vote fraud but the GOP establishment blocked it. That establishment was led by Paul Ryan- wrecker of Fox News- and Mitch McConnell, still GOP senate leader.

      Should the country fall to communism due to the recent fraud, then that’s on their heads. They had the power to stop vote fraud, and not only did they do nothing but they actively sought to enable it.

    15. Xennady Says:

      Yes, you were the only county in the world that entered the industrial age with a virgin continent to rape, and you did. You had a huge advantage, and look at you now. ;)

      It’s time for history lessons with PenGun!! I’ve got my note book out, of course I do.

      Now do South America, and tell us about what happened there. Follow up with Russia.

      You plainly love sharing your knowledge us so I’m sure you’ll have much to say.

    16. David Foster Says:

      Trying to look at the positive side, here’s a post from a commenter at Neo, comparing the US with other (nominally) democratic) countries:

      “The USA has constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech. There are myriad other ways to deplatform, dox, or otherwise make a person’s life miserable, but in the USA it is not at all easy to drag a person through the courts and imprison him or her just for Saying Bad Things.

      There are always people who don’t rely on salaries and HR departments and the approval of the great and good for their survival. Such people can only be silenced in the USA by physical means. FWIW the USA has far more of these people than any other Anglosphere nation — having a more inhabitable Flyover Country does wonders for independence and self-reliance.”

      https://www.thenewneo.com/2020/11/20/what-on-earth/

    17. Ginny Says:

      Is it just geography or does our form of business leave more closer to what works? My husband always said he didn’t buy into postmodernism because he grew up on a farm. I can’t imagine other countries don’t have the same kind of jobs, but do they have the percentage of small business, eager entrepreneurs with an idea they are selling on Etsy, bigger businesses that still see a strong connection between what works and what doesn’t? I remember Bob Kerrey explaining (I don’t know if cheerfully is the word but at least stoically) that in the restaurant business he and his brother in law ran, he’d found a great recipe he thought would be sell well, but no one ordered it. He had learned to accept that his taste and his customers wasn’t the same and stopped putting it on the menu; and apparently the voters felt the same way about him – he’d lost a couple of primaries and was pulling out. Of course he also had the empirical training of a pharmacist.

    18. Xennady Says:

      Trying to look at the positive side, here’s a post from a commenter at Neo, comparing the US with other (nominally) democratic) countries:

      I quit reading and commenting at Neo’s site when she deleted a certain comment I made complaining about the GOP. Comments attacking me for my plaints were not deleted, which is something I recall Mike K. has noted happened to him at other sites. This sort of thing is also why I departed ricochet.com as well.

      I’ll borrow from something Steven den Beste wrote a long time ago- paraphrasing from memory, elections are an error correction mechanism for a society. I think free speech is also an error correction mechanism for a society- and also for a website. If you have to delete comments because people are saying things you don’t like, maybe you should suspect you’ve made an error.

      I’ve been seeing this sort of thing happen for a long time- of course, leftists have long loved banning people who express badthink from their websites- but I also recall C-SPAN changing the way they took phone calls because too many angry conservatives were calling in- and this was in the early 1990s. Lately, they did it again, because too many democrats were calling in to support Donald Trump.

      Bottom line- I think our so-called elites, including people who should know better- like Neo- has been walling itself off from dissent for a good long time, much longer than most people would suspect. And by now, they’re essentially floating in a bubble so far away from the actual reality that they don’t even suspect the actual reality still manages to exist.

      This isn’t going to end well, but I have no doubt it will end.

    19. Exasperated Says:

      Look, we know Stupid and Stupider are just the face of the Democratic Party. I am assured that the power is really in the hands of the center left people. I can’t speak for after 2008, but at least until then, there were powerful Democrats who understood, at a fundamental level, that Capitalism is the engine of innovation and progress. I would guess that whoever manages to hang onto Capitalism, wins. Look at China, they didn’t get to where they are on their own, they were handed billions of dollars worth of hard won manufacturing and organization know how by our skimming class. And still, they have to spy and get around security measures to acquire cutting edge stuff.
      I’ll grant you that there is a subset of Democrats, the Minions, who bang about communism/socialism, which at least purports to benefit labor. I don’t see that happening at all. The end goal seems to be more circumvemting of the legislative process, a top down unaccountable regulatory bureaucracy dedicated to promoting powerful global interests. It’s some sort of globalist corporatism, crony capitalism on steroids, or maybe post socialism. Whatever it is, it is not benign; it’s creepy and dystopian for the people of Middle America. These people do not wish Middle America well, in any way, at all, any more than their Chinese mentors do.
      I know, I know, what’s the difference?

    20. David Foster Says:

      Open calls for totalitarian practices, from ‘respectable’ sources:

      https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/415504/

    21. CapitalistRoader Says:

      Marxism is intellectualism for stupid people.
      — Moe Lane

    22. fiona Says:

      I agree with exasperated, Mr. Foster. This is not envy or socialism worship – it is a mask for global corporatism. It is far easier to purchase or blackmail politicians than to accept real competition. Do you know that 25% of the S&P 500 is 5 corporations – including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and a couple others? Note no companies actually producing anything. For a long time, the politicians thought that their ability to legislate and to write exceptions into that legislation for favored industries or companies put them into control. Then the massive companies subverted our institutions and acquired some information that enable them to “nudge” the politicians. Like the governor of Georgia, who barely won his race, Collecting funds from Dominion, for which he sold out the people he is supposed to represent. I think you will find that what we get is not socialism, as the naive grassroots thinks, but more a feudalism/ corporate hegemony more like the Hunger Games.

    23. Mike K Says:

      I think you will find that what we get is not socialism, as the naive grassroots thinks, but more a feudalism/ corporate hegemony more like the Hunger Games.

      I didn’t watch or read “Hunger Games” but I think I agree with your point. A nice preview of our future, (or yours as I will be 83 in three months) is the book “Bad Blood” about Elizabeth Holmes and how she pulled off an 8 billion dollar scam. The most interesting part is how she and her legal team (David Boies of DNC fame)suppressed any criticism. Not just employees but one doctor who tried the system and complained had her waiting room invaded.

    24. David Foster Says:

      Fiona, I think there are multiple factors. For some people, it really is envy. Some do see it as a way to manipulate the system for their own benefits. Some are actually convinced by the tropes of the Woke. And many are ‘going along to get along.’

    25. Tatyana Says:

      We have a century of evidence
      …and those of us who happened to live thru that experience got sore throats screaming warnings – to a largely indifferent audience.
      Russian-American blogosphere (and I’d guess, German-American, if there is such a thing) is filled with predictions, step by step, what will happen next, with 95% accuracy.
      To no avail. And there is nowhere to go this time.
      There is even a catchphrase: “Give me a different globe!”.

      Fiona is right: it is not a socialism they crave and implement with all possible speed. It’s corporatism, the essence and economic foundation of Nazi Germany. [I don’t care for Godwin Law; what walks like a duck is a duck]

    26. David Foster Says:

      re the S&P 500, the first company on the list at present (by market capitalization) is Apple; they certainly produce products…some made in the US, most made by their Chinese contractor, but all AFAK designed by Apple and sold under their own brand.

      It’s an interesting question when a company can legitimately be said to be ‘producing things.’ For example, appliances such as washing machines used to be controlled by cams, switches, and relays, all of which had to be fabricated in factories. Now, they are controlled by software running on a microcontroller. Is a company which writes software for appliance control really ‘producing things’ less than was the company which made physical appliance controllers?

    27. Anonymous Says:

      I don’t know if there is an ideology, it does appear that the end result is greater and greater concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. Maybe someone can confirm that. So, to Fiona’s point, yes maybe, if left unchecked, it results in a HiTech feudalism without the noblesse oblige. The take away from the 2020 election is that Working People, Middle America, Main Street don’t matter. Consider the tsunami of hate that has occurred and will continue to occur toward Working America since President Zeros election. It has been a non stop barrage of derogatory insults, inflammatory accusations and demeaning ridicule. In the public space, there has been no push back at all, just avidness to jump on the bandwagon and reinforce the lies. The Minions wouldn’t be doing that if the Normies had any clout. They work for the Man not you.

      Think about the possibility that there is a major realignment working its way through the system. The current public intellectual to make this case is Yuval Harari. I have not read his book, all I know about it comes from a half dozen lectures and interviews he has participated in on YouTube. He is trying to anticipate what happens when millions become increasingly redundant, a controversial idea. My take is that it does not bode well for the people in the Middle, or their values, as their power and numbers decline due to contracting employment opportunities. This explains why the Dems had no reluctance to dump Labor, with the exception of public sector unions. If you are an American Working person, your attachment to those Industrial Revolution values of hard work, thrift, accountability, diligence, in tandem with your reliance on Math, Grammar, and experimental Science along with your belief in the Bill of Rights, the rule of law, limited government, fundamental fairness, is at best quaint, and antiquated. More importantly this, coupled with your attachment to a national identity (borders), is an serious obstacle that stands in the way of the skimming class imposition of a top down supranational-government agencies and courts. The question is will American middle class values prove to be resilient or archaic in the post industrial economy.

    28. Mike K Says:

      Consider the tsunami of hate that has occurred and will continue to occur toward Working America since President Zeros election. It has been a non stop barrage of derogatory insults, inflammatory accusations and demeaning ridicule. In the public space, there has been no push back at all, just avidness to jump on the bandwagon and reinforce the lies. The Minions wouldn’t be doing that if the Normies had any clout. They work for the Man not you.

      David brings up the subject of who makes things? I think we are entering an era in which college educations, unless technical, are going to evaporate. I spent 50 years as a surgeon. I was pretty well rewarded. I have talked to young doctors recently and most of those I talked to are not happy. I have five kids, all but one a college graduate. Who do you think has the happiest life and the happiest kids ?

      My wife has three sons and three grandsons. None have a college degree. One son and his three sons are all working hard, getting married, buying houses.

      I’m not so sure our future is as salarymen like those in Japan. Big corporations have gone off on track that leads no where. Crony Capitalism is Fascism.

    29. Jay Guevara Says:

      I can have some sympathy for people who became Communists and/or advocates of world government back in the 1920s. The theory of centralized economic planning is very seductive

      In this context, it’s instructive to read Edward Bellamy’s 1887 book “Looking Backward” (available at https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/25439) which shows us the paradise that could be ours if we just embraced socialism.

      Now Bellamy’s perspective on this putative imminent paradise is childlike in its naivete, but I suspect that some variant of it is nevertheless at the heart of those who burn with zeal for socialism.

      That would explain why leftists are so passionate, why they have patience with, much less tolerance for, any other views. If we just followed their prescriptions, the logical rational prescriptions endorsed by the experts, we could have paradise on earth. Why can’t you people see this??

    30. Anonymous Says:

      Fiona, I think there are multiple factors. For some people, it really is envy. Some do see it as a way to manipulate the system for their own benefits. Some are actually convinced by the tropes of the Woke. And many are ‘going along to get along.’

      Exactly right. Relatively few on the left are clever enough single-handedly to manipulate the system for their own benefit. Instead, they appeal to the envy and greed of people who consider themselves losers because others are better off than they are, and are bitter about it. (Note the consistent theme in ads targeting the underclass: “You deserve this.” And they’re not referring to a swift kick in the butt, either.)

      I view envy as reflecting a character defect. They ask whether they have as much as some others, when the proper question is whether they have enough to live comfortably. Census data show that (IIRC) ~99% of households have a color TV, and roughly comparable percentages have microwave ovens, cell phones, etc.

      “Poor” means not having enough to eat, a place to sleep, adequate clothing to wear, etc., basic needs for existence (and no, premium cable does not fall into this category). That’s Third World territory. By any rational standard, no one in the First World is poor.

    31. Jay Guevara Says:

      Sorry, that was me.

    32. Xennady Says:

      He is trying to anticipate what happens when millions become increasingly redundant, a controversial idea.

      I’m sorry, but where has he been?

      Millions were being made redundant, decades ago. This didn’t just start, and the democrats didn’t decide to dump labor just now. It happened decades ago- I’d say certainly by the time Dick Gephardt left office in 2005, and I think effectively it was decades before that. I remember watching Al Gore- democrat- take the pro-free trade side in the debate over NAFTA with H. Ross Perot, late in the last century.

      If you are an American Working person, your attachment to those Industrial Revolution values of hard work, thrift, accountability, diligence, in tandem with your reliance on Math, Grammar, and experimental Science along with your belief in the Bill of Rights, the rule of law, limited government, fundamental fairness, is at best quaint, and antiquated.

      Good to know that this is what our supposed betters believe. It certainly seems Elizabeth Holmes sure felt that way. Maybe if she doesn’t believe in prison she won’t get sent to one, somehow.

      More importantly this, coupled with your attachment to a national identity (borders), is an serious obstacle that stands in the way of the skimming class imposition of a top down supranational-government agencies and courts. The question is will American middle class values prove to be resilient or archaic in the post industrial economy.

      Mm-hmmm. The problem here is that these supposed “middle class” values aren’t some weird affectation of the squares. They’re important attributes of a civilized people. People who don’t have values compatible with civilization aren’t capable of maintaining one, it seems to me.

      Nor are they capable of pulling off a huge scam, even if they can get David Boies to harass people who notice reality.

      But that’s the real problem these grifters face- reality doesn’t go away if you stop believing in it, or seek to sue or deplatform people who don’t share your delusion.

      Forgive me, but you haven’t sold me on this Yuval Hariri person.

    33. David Foster Says:

      Ginny…reminds me of the old marketing parable: If you’re in the dog food business, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your strategy is, how clever your tv ads are, how cunning your incentives for the distribution channel are, if **the dogs won’t eat it**.

    34. OBloodyHell Says:

      OK, Pretty sure I’ve made this argument/comment here before, but don’t recall seeing much in response to it.

      In 1990, on the 45th Anniversary of Hiroshima, SF author Harlan Ellison was on ABC’s Nightline (still with Ted Koppel, back then), and he made the point that nuclear weapons, often derided as utterly humane, were, in fact, one of the most humane weapons in all of human history, or at least since the time when Kings rode into battle at the heads of their armies.

      Because, he argued, for the first time since then, the Kings would experience the true results of their decisions.

      In other words, since that long ago era, Kings made decisions, then others tended to suffer all the consequences, with the Kings fairly immune to them.

      But nuclear weapons are anything but. Those whose decision it is to Go To War stood to lose as much as those on the front lines, as even those behind the lines — they could see all their power, all their wealth, go up in a nuclear fireball.

      And that, he asserted, is what made nuclear weapons also unprecedented in all of human history: They (then) had not been used again in war for 45 years (a figure which has now increased to 75!!). For humans to invent a weapon and then not use it again, this just does not happen. Even gas, while avoided in WWII, was used by Saddam against the Kurds and the Iranians.

      Now, having repeated his case, I’m going to make an assertion regarding it — That the use of weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki may well have been the saving event of human kind.

      Lacking those very graphic, very unavoidably horrific, results to point to, would the Powers-That-Be have chosen to back up, to step back, when the specter of nuclear war rose again — at least twice — 1950 Korea, and 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis?

      Or would they have believed it was actually a “winnable” war, with weapons far far more powerful than those dropped on those two Japanese cities? Would the atomic bomb tests alone have caused them to demur? I worry not so — if there is a multiverse, there may well be worlds where Truman chose to not bomb those two places, where the ultimate test of the weapons came with hydrogen bombs dropped on US and Soviet soil… and a tremendous loss to all of civilization as a result.

      Maybe the Japanese were the sacrificial lambs for the rest of humankind?

    35. OBloodyHell Says:

      OOPs. “Inhumane”, not humane.

    36. Roy Kerns Says:

      Perhaps, OBH, I might quibble about some of your subsidiary conclusions, maybe putting a different polish on them. But for decades I have thought correct your overall thesis (that nuclear weapons kept more than a few wars from happening and certainly restrained how some conflicts got fought)and have shared that idea in various interchanges.

    37. Brian Says:

      I thought OBH was saying not that nukes prevented wars, but that Hiroshima and Nagasaki prevented further wars from going nuclear?

      Has anyone read this book?
      https://www.amazon.com/National-Security-Government-Michael-Glennon/dp/0190663995/
      National Security and Double Government
      Michael J. Glennon challenges the myth that U.S. security policy is still forged by America’s visible, “Madisonian institutions” – the President, Congress, and the courts. Their roles, he argues, have become largely illusory. Presidential control is now nominal, congressional oversight is dysfunctional, and judicial review is negligible. The book details the dramatic shift in power that has occurred from the Madisonian institutions to a concealed “Trumanite network” – the several hundred managers of the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement agencies who are responsible for protecting the nation and who have come to operate largely immune from constitutional and electoral restraints.

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