The Sharp Edge of Guilt, a blast from the past March 2010

The Sharp Edge of Guilt, a blast from the past March 2010

Yesterday I was hanging around in the kitchen with my older son, waiting for the coffee to brew, and he made some joking comment about my being oppressed when I was growing up.

I told him I was oppressed enough, or at least women were, in that time and in that place – as they still are in many times and in many places.

Yes, I like to point out and do – often – that it wasn’t a gigantic conspiracy of men against women that kept women down for six thousand years because frankly most men can’t conspire their way out of a paperbag. (I suspect women are naturally better at it. No, don’t hurt me. Just women seem to be naturally more socially adept. But even women couldn’t manage a conspiracy of that magnitude.) And I like to point out – and do – it wasn’t shoulder to shoulder but the pill and changes in technology that liberated women or at least that made attempts at liberation reasonable instead of insane. (Of course, shoulder to shoulder makes for better movies and books, which is why everyone believes it.)

However, as I told the boy, given the conditions biology set up, women were “oppressed” enough in most cultures and in most places. Yes, men were oppressed too at the same time, because this type of shackles is double-sided, but the oppression of women lingered a bit longer than that of men – say a good couple of generations by habit and custom and because humans simply don’t change that fast. Which is why the oppression of women is remembered as such and the men are remembered as being on top.

So I told him in Portugal, until the seventies, women weren’t allowed to vote and, oh, by the way, a married woman couldn’t get a job outside the house unless her husband signed papers saying that they needed it, due to economic hardship. (Which of course, meant the dumb bastard had to sign a paper saying he wasn’t man enough to support his family. Made it really easy on him, it did.) I’m sure there were other legal and economic hobbles that went with that. And I told him of course in many many countries in the world that inequality persists, only much worse.

Which is when I realized he was squirming and looking like he’d done something wrong.

Guilt. My poor kid was feeling guilty of being born male.

Guilt is a useful enough emotion, in small doses and well administered. For instance when I was three I stole some very small coin from money my mom had left on the kitchen table. I don’t remember what – the equivalent of five cents. I stole it to buy a couple of peanuts at the store across the street (they sold them by weight. In the shell.) My mom made it clear to me I’d made it impossible for her to buy her normal bread order when the bakery delivery (no, don’t ask. Delivered. Door to door. Every morning. I missed it terribly my first years in the US, but now they don’t do it in Portugal either, anymore) came by the next morning because she didn’t have the exact change. It wasn’t strictly true. The money amount was so small she just said “I’ll make the rest up tomorrow.” But she told me it was, and how she had to be short a roll. My understanding there were larger consequences for my stupid theft made me feel guilty, and that ensured I never did it again. The same, with varying degrees of justice, managed to instill the semblance of a work ethic in me in relation to school work.

However, the guilt my son was feeling was stupid, counterproductive, all too widespread AND poisonous.

Stupid because he could hardly be held accountable for something that happened thirty years before his birth, even if he has the same outward form as the people who benefitted from an inequity. (And benefitted should be taken with a grain of salt here. Countries in which women are kept down might offer an ego bo for the guys, but they are far less materially prosperous on average. Everyone suffers.) Counterproductive because guilt by definition can never be collective. Well, not beyond a small group like, say the Manson family. You get beyond that and you can’t assign blame with any degree of accuracy. So, going and yelling at my father, say, for “keeping women down” when I was little would be as insane as yelling at my son. Why? Well, because a) he didn’t and wouldn’t (he was raised by a strong woman, practically on her own, while my grandfather was in Brazil, working and grandma ruled the extended family with an iron fist.) b) to the extent he enforced societal rules, it was usually to keep us from getting in trouble with society in general (which, btw, included women. In fact women were the greatest enforcers of “you shall not be seen anywhere with a young man you’re not dating” rule that got me in the most trouble.) c) his standing up and talking given who he was and the amount of social power he had (or in fact didn’t have) would have changed nothing except get him treated like a lunatic.

I’m sure there are good men in Saudi Arabia who find it abhorrent and painful that women can’t drive, for instance. I’m also sure they enforce that rule on their women because they don’t want them fined or imprisoned or worse. They can’t DO anything. Not as individuals. And they’re too busy feeding their families to organize and run campaigns no free women. Also, there have been some men who have organized and tried to make a difference, but there weren’t enough of them. That “grain of sand” stuff only works dramatically in movies. In real life, it’s more one generation raising the other; one friend talking to the other – until the balance TIPS.

And once it does making them feel guilty would be a counterproductive. Sorry for breaking Godwin’s law, but did we persecute ALL of the German people for Hitler’s crimes? No. Could any of them have spoken up? Many did. But most people who were alive at that time were good people caught in a social mechanic they couldn’t break out of – not individually. And they weren’t connected enough to form cohesive groups.

While we’re speaking of Germany, look at collective guilt and collective punishment for “crimes” that people supposedly committed which no individual could have stopped. If you’ve studied the mechanics of the avalanche leading to WWI (I have. There’s a novel about the Red Baron and time traveling started, and it will eventually get done) there was a certain unstoppable force to it. It was going to start sometime. Someone was going to fire the first shot.

It was Germany. They invaded other countries. The “Hun” entered European mythology of the early twentieth for reasons both good and bad. (Google WWI Belgian Nuns, for instance. Much of it was propaganda, but a lot of it, doubtless, happened.)

When they lost the war, they were treated as if they and they alone and they collectively were guilty. The penalty levied was so high they could not and would not pay and that it was crushing the man in the street.

There were other reasons leading to the rise of Hitler. However, THAT punishment facilitated it. It might not have happened without it. The “in for a lamb, in for a sheep” is a normal human reaction. If you’re held constantly guilty of things you did NOT do and could not have changed, you’re going to DO something anyway. I mean, how can it get worse?

To a certain type of woman – or man, though we’re only giving some tenured college professor males that kind of power – it is sweet to be able to play the victim ad nauseam. Particularly when you’ve never actually been victimized. And it is great to be able to make men squirm with stories of past injustice and feel guilty for things they are either way too young to have done (anyone born after the fifties, pretty much) or could not have changed if they tried, but which many of them mitigated in small ways.

And to a certain type of man – or woman, but in this case it doesn’t apply – it’s a great feeling to go around apologizing for the crimes of your ancestors. If you feel your accomplishments are diminished by theirs, apologizing gives a quick leveling. You recognize they did wrong, therefore you must be better than them. It’s a stupid feeling that ignores that you’re probably also doing things that your descendants will apologize for, but hey, it’s much better than actually trying to achieve something. Less work. Instant boost.

This dynamic gives power to passive-aggressives and bullies, the exact type of person you don’t want to have any power. And it makes good people feel like they’re bad and if they’re bad they might as well act it. It can, for instance, make young men very attracted to religions that DO oppress women (and no, sorry, that’s not most main line Christian religions, where you can leave if you want to.) Frankly, I think it’s a miracle more of my son’s generation hasn’t converted to one of those. I think it’s a witness to their essential decency, given the books, the movies and everything else designed to make them feel guilty for crimes they never committed.

So, let’s stop right here, okay? Being born with a penis is not a sign of guilt. Original sin and original taint are religious concepts that work ONLY in the mystical framework designed to control them and forgive them. In this workaday world of ours, they get in the way and engender a cycle of resentment and backlash.

Honestly, if aliens wanted to stop humans from reproducing, they couldn’t have come up with a better idea than this! Or if they wanted to ensure those who reproduced oppressed women again, this time without any real biological excuse.

You guys stop feeling guilty – even vestigially. You women, stop holding the cudgel over their heads. It’s not fair and it stopped being productive a while ago.

Now go forth and be free. It’s a brave new world and we’re the creatures in it. Don’t let inappropriate guilt twist it.

224 responses to “The Sharp Edge of Guilt, a blast from the past March 2010

  1. …and we see another example of, “Are you SURE you were trying to be undercover?” (Runs)

    I can imagine someone trying to make me feel guilty by telling me how bad it was for women before some arbitrary time. it would just blow right by me, and I would be asking them, “And? So what point are you trying to make here?” Or perhaps, “What was the purpose of that little story?”

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    C. S. Lewis writing (IRRC) before WW2 started, talked about young men “apologizing” for the sins/mistakes of the “prior generation”.

    IRRC he was saying that it wasn’t that they really felt guilty about anything the prior generation did but it was an excuse to “bash” the prior generation.

    I suspect that much of this “guilt” is an excuse to bash both the old generations and to bash people who haven’t bought into the nonsense they are preaching.

    On the other hand, it may be my cynical side talking.

    • If it’s your cynical side talking, I agree, so…

    • Cynical is a synonym for accurate.

      • Morning dear!

      • We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth,
        We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung,
        And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.
        God help us, for we knew the worst too young!
        — Rudyard Kipling, “Gentleman-Rankers”

    • “,,an excuse to “bash” the prior generation.”

      That’s a terrific insight: it’s like teenagers griping,”My parents are so stupid!” but on a much broader scale.

      One wonders if all this “self-esteem training” (which of course has the opposite effect) is among the culprits — since the younger generation don’t really have that self-respect, they grow a replacement by condemning not only their own parents but everyone’s parents.

    • bravoromeodelta

      I rather imagine that’s why a TV series like “Mad Men” has been so popular. It’s an exciting way to trash previous generations.

  3. There were other reasons leading to the rise of Hitler. However, THAT punishment facilitated it. It might not have happened without it. The “in for a lamb, in for a sheep” is a normal human reaction. If you’re held constantly guilty of things you did NOT do and could not have changed, you’re going to DO something anyway. I mean, how can it get worse?

    Hitler did oppose the international communists, who were gaining political ground for much the same reason. One thing he offered: a cult of pride in nation instead of corporate guilt by birth.

    The lessons are that we can take away from this: be careful lest your opposition to one evil drives you into the arms of another. Look carefully at any promise of hope and change.

    • That’s the trouble I’m having with research right now. I have to read about the Treaty of Versailles and the aftermath, and I can see exactly how the French (and Brits, Americans, Italians to an extent) drove so many in Eastern Europe straight into what came next. And what is still going on, except now at a low smoulder with occasional flares. It’s depressing reading that makes you want to reach into the books and shake people.

      • It’s depressing reading that makes you want to reach into the books and shake people.

        I have had that reaction when reading history myself … and I don’t mean the authors of the history in question — although that impulse has occurred as well.

        • *grin* There was one author, assigned to me in grad school, who I would gladly have tracked down, waited in a dark alley near their place of employment, and beaten with a 2X4 for making a certain episode of US colonial history not only deadly boring but confusing as well. “Postmodern this!” Thwack, thwack, thwack.

          Grad school: where you learn how not to write history. (Or ought to learn how not to write history.)

          • Heck, I had an undergraduate course in medieval history which the professor managed to make pound-a-nail-into-your-temple boring. The lectures were so tedious that nothing I ever encountered in the military later on achieved that level. No kidding, you could grind up his lectures, put them into capsules and use as a sleep-aid.
            OTO – that professor did assign some excellent readings, so the class wasn’t a dead loss.

          • Most recent episode for me was inspired by an respected historian who insists that most of the founders knew that slavery was wrong and that they could have eliminated slavery if only they had really tried. He then, in support of his assertion, proceeds to lay out the arguments of the time so clearly and such force that you wonder that his head isn’t now spinning … separately from his body.

            • That’s not always the authors’ doing. I’ve encountered three books published within the past four years (including one of my non-fics) where the editor insisted in added something about sex or ethnic discrimination. In my case it was only one sentence, but in another case I really got the feeling that the editor had brow-beat the author (an independent researcher) into adding several pages of stuff, not because it was important to the story, but because it fit the Official Narrative about modern Christianity. In a book about the origins of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (800s-1000). *eye roll*

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                A few years back, there was a performance of old Catholic Church music in the St. Louis area.

                In a review of the performance, the reviewer *had* to include criticism of the Roman Catholic Church.

                The criticism, of course, had nothing to do with how well the music sounded or how well the musicians/singers did their job.

                It “fit” the Official Narrative, so it had to be included. [Frown]

            • The founding fathers also looked at Rome and Greece for inspiration in government. What is a common feature of those nations? To a large extent, the country was still agrarian at the time of the founding. Those societies required cheap labor and lots of it. Did the founding fathers also know denying woman suffrage was wrong and could have provided equal rights if only they had really tried? I have been told, and look at pre-bellum houses in South Carolina and Georgia, those two states, with the highest per-capita of slaves also had the highest per-capita of wealth for the western world. You might have gotten 11 colonies to form the US without slavery, but it was the industrial revolution that really gave people the morals and awareness to abolish slavery, and even after… ever hear of a West Virginia ‘mining town’. Is a life of indentured servitude really any morally better? While it might have been a ‘noble’ cause, where were the resources to free, feed and train the slaves so they could live a productive life. The instances of share-cropping, where poor blacks farmed on land owned by the whites for a percentage of the crop yield was still going on at least to WW-I or beyond. My Mother had a black ‘Mammy’ in central VA. Same deal, they lived on my Uncle’s land and worked fields for themselves, for him, and additionally cared for the white children. Why? Was it from the dread power of the KKK? Hardly. While the War of Northern Aggression freed the slaves, there was no ‘Marshal Plan’ to deal with the economic displacement. So we had black flight to the Northern ghettos where they could become factory workers, and we’re still dealing with the repercussions of that consequence today.
              I suspect that at least Jefferson “All men are created equal” had some issues with slavery, but there were a lot more problems on the plate than that single issue.
              In the Progressive’s ideal world with infinite resources, of course we could do a lot better for equality than we have. Perhaps one day we will reach at least vast inexpensive resources (probably from our Robotic Overlords), but here in our time, and in our historical heritage, ‘wishing it so’ doesn’t really work.

              • pacman1776

                read thomas paine’s take on the issue.

                • Indeed, the ‘humanizing’ effect of the Enlightenment and the Reformation certainly was one of the first nails in slavery’s coffin. I still think that the special interests of the time, much like our own had influence, and the economic necessities had an impact as well. 1776 was not ready for machine based labor to replace the large investment in slavery, 100 years later it was more feasible, but much like climate change, there were a raft of deniers. TANSTAAFL; change is never cheap.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                There was a ‘Marshal’ plan. Sherman’s famous *mumble* acres and a mule. Andrew Johnson put a stop to that. Given he was a Democrat, and that the KKK was to the Democratic Party what the IRA was to Sinn Fein, it could be argued that it was in fact the fault of the KKK. Of course, the KKK was formed later, so it is a pretty dubious argument.

                • There was a brief KKK in the Reconstruction. It presented itself as a civil rights group. When it resorted to violence, Southerners deserted in droves — the highest ranking one taking out a newspaper ad to announce it and urge others to follow his example — and the feds came down like a ton of bricks.

      • My understanding is that Churchill knew what would happen, told people that this was a very bad idea, and was ignored just as he was aggressivly ignored until the shtf after “Peace in our time.”.

        • But don’t you see: if the consequences of that treaty were foreseeable, that means the West was as much to blame as the Nazis, possibly more so for having driven the Germans insane.

          Couldn’t have that, could we now? Just not the way things were done, don’chyouknow.

          • Well, if you accept the notion that people are not responsible for things they are “driven” to do.

            • Those driving the herd have some degree of responsibility for their going over a cliff.

              • One notes that the metaphor implicitly says that some humans are shepherds and others sheep.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Issue is, Germans had relatives corresponding from the Ukraine. Between that and the brief soviet takeover of Bavaria, they knew they were in line for the chopping block, and how they would be treated.

            Partly their fault they elected to follow such a stupidly mad way of tackling the issue.

        • For over five years this man [Churchill] has been chasing around Europe like a madman in search of something he could set on fire. Unfortunately he again and again finds hirelings who open the gates of their country to this international incendiary.
          —Adolf Hitler

  4. My grandfather came here from Bavaria in 1910. He became a citizen as quickly as possible and lived here the rest of his life. He lived and worked in the midwest through both world wars and the depression between. He never liked to talk about it, but occasionally made references that led me to believe that during the war years being “German” was not always pleasant. At least he wasn’t a native born American of Japanese ancestry. History tells us what collective guilt did for them.
    I do see some parallels between the relationships of the German people to the Nazi party with that of Muslims to radical Islam. The passive acceptance of the vast majority would appear to be condoning evil through their rather consistent lack of condemnation. Of course Islam is so constructed that any such act is considered a sacrilege. Clever bastard that Mohamed.
    My whole point being that collective guilt is a tool utilized to gain a modicum of control over some segment of society. It’s manipulation pure and simple. And as you allude to, when those being guilted bear no responsibility for the cause of it, they have two options, either withdraw or attack. I suppose simple submission is a third, but that only builds resentment that eventually results in a very unpleasant resolution.

    • People of German ancestry were killed FOR being of German ancestry. Period.

      • Made the mistake of asking a Mennonite friend of mine about WWI. Once. German-speaking pacifist from Russia who prefer not to deal with a strong central government – what could possibly go wrong?

        • …. waits….
          …. waits….
          … what, you’re not gonna finish the story?

          • Maybe you have to buy the book to find out the rest of the story. If not she deserves a carping.

      • In Europe, mass expulsions of ethnic Germans (including babies and Holocaust survivors) followed WWII. Needless to say, many deaths ensued.

      • Like I said, grampa never talked much about that time. Most I learned from inference or third party. He was only 16 when he came here, about two steps ahead of the Kaiser’s conscript squads, and he settled in a area that was heavily German/Dutch. Had family here already and apprenticed in the baker’s trade. By the depression he owned his own bakery, and was successful enough that he was offered opportunities to buy entire farms at depression foreclosure prices. He always declined because he could not bring himself to take a man’s farm. Grandma was quite frustrated by that, and that he obeyed FDR when they asked them to turn in any gold coin in exchange for script. At least those were the two things she always brought up when pointing out that they were merely well off instead of filthy rich.
        What tangible fortune remained when she passed was taken by less than honorable relatives. I had to take out a personal loan to pay for her funeral. But I am rich beyond wealth from the lessons I took and kept from those two people.

      • My maternal grandmother’s family was “German”. That is, even though most of them had arrived in America (not the US) by the mid 1730s, they had a German family name and up to her own grandfather’s childhood still spoke some German at home.

        My grandmother told me a story how, during WWI, her father dissuaded a mob who wanted to tar-and-feather the “Hun” by producing a shotgun and asking who was first. I don’t know any more of the details – it would have happened somewhere in eastern Oklahoma in 1915 or 1916, I think, but I can’t localize it any further. But my grandmother was both old enough (11 or 12 years old) to know what happened, and one of the most honest (and least prone to exaggeration) people I’ve ever known, so I believe it happened as described.

    • Yep. During WWII in Texas it was (so I was told by locals in the Hill Country) illegal to speak German in public. One of the Lutheran churches in Fredericksburg had just gotten a new pastor – a German-speaker from Switzerland, whose English was not so good, and he kept forgetting and speaking German. Eventually he was interned in Crystal City, which he didn’t mind terribly much, as he had a full house for Sunday services.
      It was after WWI that the anti-German feeling was the worst, though. Many of the older people have told me that their parents seemed to have made a quiet decision to speak English in the home around that time. When the KKK was active in the 1920s in Texas, they focused a lot of their ire on the German-speakers.

      • There’s a lot of not widely known history about this part of Texas.

      • Even as lat as 2004 being a German outside of Germany in Europe was, at best, asking for the cold shoulder from anyone who figured out your origins. I can’t speak for later than that. I DO know that the fastest way to take a German from Calm to Nuclear and skip all stages in between is to call them ‘Facist’ or compare them to the Nazis. As they say out here, them’s fightin’ words.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Yes, I accidentally offended one here that way. I attempted to be very careful in my phrasing, but perhaps assumed his English was better than it was. I was just trying to cast stones at the Democratic Party.

          I regret that. He had some really funny stories about delusional German media narratives about the United States. If you really thought someone was that dangerous, wouldn’t it make sense to either be compliant and get far away, or figure out a way to off them first?

    • At least he wasn’t a native born American of Japanese ancestry. History tells us what collective guilt did for them.

      Not so much– for example, only a tiny number of Hawaiian Japanese were put in camps, and about four in five stateside were; the ones living stateside were both a smaller population (I seem to remember, could be wrong) and were more likely to have close relatives living in Japan. (AKA, “really good targets for ‘do this or we horrifically kill your grandma’ attacks”)

      I seem to remember that there were several war heroes who only got into the military after a LOT of fighting, for exactly this reason– they had relatives on the other side.

      I don’t think the camps were the best way to go about it, but I know enough about Japan at the time to figure that it saved a lot of lives for those Japanese whose relatives had immigrated to the US.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Well, the conscientious objector males got put in prison with regular criminals.

        • Unrelated situation, you can’t have a group guilt for a conscientious objection.

        • Some did, more during the Civil War and WW1 than WW2. Which early experience led to implementing the 1-AO (“conscientious cooperator”, won’t take up weapons) draft classification, in addition to 1-O (won’t serve at all).

          My father was drafted in late 1943 as a 1-AO, and served as a Navy corpsman in the Pacific. Another 1-AO, Desmond Doss, served as an Army medic, and was awarded the Medal of Honor in Okinawa. Several of my high school classmates were drafted for Viet Nam-era service as 1-AO, and served as medics. One spent his time in at Ft. Sam Houston in the “White Coats” program, two others as combat medics in SVN, one was awarded the Silver Star, the other the Bronze Star, for combat-related actions.

          One other WW2 Army non-combatant medic, though, still puzzles me. Keith Argraves was a paratrooper in F Co 2nd Bn 509th PIR who jumped into North Africa, was captured on a raid to cut a railroad bridge at El Djem, and spent the rest of the war in German POW camps.

          Just how does a non-combatant medic end up as a paratrooper?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Obviously, to be the medic for the other paratroopers. After all, they’ll need medics. [Polite Smile]

      • Japanese Americans were a large enough component of the Hawaiian economy that interning large numbers of them would have been more trouble than it was worth. And they certainly did enlist most determinedly.

        • So did the ones state side. It’s part of why I know about the grandparent problem. To the shock of nobody, a lot of those boys understood what, exactly, the country their parents left was willing to do to their family members that were still back there.

          It had predictable results on how they felt about that nation….

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I remember reading that one (or more) South American countries had a large Japanese population.

            Those countries also had major problems with sabotage in areas supporting the Allies.

            Some of the sabotage was done by Japanese nationals “shipped” into these countries to cause problems but they were able to “blend in” with the “native” Japanese population.

            No doubt that the “native” Japanese population aided in the “blending in” because of threats to their relatives still living in Japan.

            • Lots of other information here:
              http://www.vdare.com/articles/michelle-malkins-in-defense-of-internment

              Including things I didn’t even know about, like that DiMaggio’s dad was not allowed to sail for the duration of the war (crab fisherman) because he was from Italy, or that Japanese that were nowhere near the coast were left alone.

              It also has links to the story I heard on the Bryan Suits show about the big Hawaiian who killed the crash-landed Japanese pilot after being fatally shot with his bare hands.

              Honestly, though, all you gotta do is look at what Japan was like then– I like Japan now, but I swear they were a foundation for half of the really scary scifi aliens that don’t consider non-them and traitors to be real people.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Nod, the Japanese of that time (and some to a lesser degree now) had this view of themselves as the “True Humans”.

                Also, in many ways they were the “alien enemy” because their culture was very different than the culture of “Western Civilization”.

                They honestly thought “differently” than the US and Europe.

                • One advantage of Anime fandom spreading is that it might get people to realize how very many things we take for granted are… well, not. A lot of them are Christian or Christian based, but there may be others that I can’t see– looking to the Middle East illuminates the religious-cultural ones pretty dang sharply.

                  Heck, I’m still running into ones between the US and Europe!

                  • This is why I recommend reading large doses of primary source to all aspiring writers. It’s not to gain facts. It’s to knock your block off. It’s, in fact, to train you to consider what you take for granted here might not be true elsewhere.

                    I think I attained that by the day I got a critique that asked of my story, “What sort of culture carefully chaperones princesses and lets princes travel about freely?” and my first reaction was, “A normal one.”

                • William O. B'Livion

                  That should be ‘think “differently”‘. As in present tense.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                PS.

                A while back I read a news-story about a couple in Japan who “came out”.

                It seems that they were Koreans who had been brought to Japan as basically slave labor.

                Somehow they escaped the slavery and posed as an ordinary Japanese couple while remaining living in Japan.

                Sadly, when they revealed that they weren’t “real” Japanese, their former friends shunned them.

    • As I pointed out years ago to some college classmates who happened to be Canadians, Canada did the same thing to Canadian Japanese that we did at the beginning of the Pacific War.

  5. “Being born with a penis is not a sign of guilt. ”

    Your piece, good for its time, is sadly dated. I’m assured by most of society this quaint notion is completely false. There is a cure, however, that involves hormone injections and a crysknife. Shudder. Ew. Bandaid please.

    A BIG one! (ba-da-Bang!)

  6. When I took European History in high school, our teacher ran us through the Treaty of Versailles and its consequences, basically — IIRC — told us outright that it paved the way for Hitler and WWII, and then split us into groups to represent different countries and told us to come up with new terms.

    Most of them set out to be harsher and more punitive. I sincerely have no idea whether my classmates were roleplaying really determinedly, skeptical of the teacher’s claims, understanding them differently from how I did, or… um… not actually listening.

    • Ooh, I may try having my batch do that next year. Thanks!

    • Or just being kids, whose punishments tend to be rather more draconian due to lack of perspective (and lack of any notion that they too could be the target of such punishments).

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        They might also be unable to disregard the knowledge of what came after from their calculations. Or have a really weak grasp of the implications of the terms.

  7. Christopher

    I’ve always seen the entire gender (and race) issues as backwards in the extreme by placing the responsibilities for women (and non-whites) in the hands of men (whitey).

  8. But most people who were alive at that time were good people caught in a social mechanic they couldn’t break out of – not individually.

    Actually, I think most people then were not good people, any more than most people today are good people. What we people tend to do is align ourselves with the dominant philosophy of our times, especially is it is a jealous philosophy that accepts no others. Mostly we want to (in no particular order) have a little fun, fend for our families and avoid inconvenience. It is because we have such scant individual power to affect society that we often live by the rule of the nail that sticks up.

    In Cuba, street artist Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto,” has been sentenced to three years in prison for the crime of naming a pair of his pigs Fidel and Raúl. No doubt his family suffers in ways beyond his absence, such as neighbors now wary of seeming too friendly with “El Sexto” and his family.

    Mostly people are good in order to avoid trouble. They will go along to get along, confident that “If I don’t do it somebody else will” and that “there is no fighting City Hall.”

    It is not so much that they are “good” as they are blameless, blameless because their effort to spit on the raging fire would have availed naught, and it is cheap moral preening for any of us to pretend we’d have done differently in their place.

  9. it’s a great feeling to go around apologizing for the crimes of your [predecessors].

    It earns more moral credit at lower cost than apologizing for your own errors, misdeeds and transgressions. Certain politicians on the Left practice this form of moral preening and evasion of culpability most effectively; few on the Right seem to have mastered the knack, perhaps because a basic conservative tenet is individual responsibility (which also enables individual forgiveness.)

  10. Being born with a penis is not a sign of guilt.

    Are you sure of that? I think it says in Genesis that the serpent will crawl on his belly, the woman bleed and the man’s willy dangle.

    • With the benefit of afterthought and contemplation of the large selection of euphemisms available, please amend the prior post as follows:
      … the serpent will crawl on his belly, the woman bleed and the man’s dong dangle.

      • Careful RES, the woman at the next blog over will file harassment charges for an inappropriate joke and you’ll be sent to Internet HR for “training.”

        Which among other horrible things involves watching Interstellar

    • That’s an odd brow to interpret as doing the sweating.

      • Maybe it’s because RES is a ‘roo?

        • Ich bin kein roo, Ich bin ein Wallaby.


          Willoughby wallaby pez, an elephant sat on RES.

          • Well, my furry wallaby friend, if an elephant sat on you, wouldn’t you be a pancake? And now I’m going to have that song stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I think I’m going to need to borrow some of Sarah’s Devils Cut…

  11. I think I am going to find a way to bookmark this and share it with both my sons before they go to college. Homeschooling lets me mitigate the worst of the bs guilt now, but it’s definitely the sorts of things we touch on when we talk politics and current events.

    Not that they are likely to buy into the story of oppressed women much anyway with me as mom. 20 year military officer who makes more money and is better educated than dad. Which just gets me told I’m a figment of my own imagination when I point this out to the usual SJW suspects. How dare I not recognize (i.e. cooperate in the imagining of for gain) my own oppression.

    • I think they refer to women like you as having been, “colonized”.

      Or else you’re a traitor to your gendersex. Not sure which applies here.

      As for bookmarking, you should be able to just add this page to your bookmarks as normal. Or, copy the address from the address bar and put it in an email. Although it may take someone directly to your comment, rather than the top.

      • I prefer “tool of the patriarchy”. If I’m allowed to pick the title of my own deep oppression. 😉

        And as far as gendersex goes I guess it doesn’t matter as I am both biologically and psychologically female, regardless of how ungirly I may be, so they have me both coming and going as it were.

      • William O. B'Livion

        As for bookmarking, you should be able to just add this page to your bookmarks as normal.

        Evernote. Cross platform, searchable, sortable and you can export your notes and bookmarks to your local machine if you decide to quit.

    • Lots of figments hang out around here, so you’re in good company. Just look out for the one with the exotic kitten avatar. Photographic evidence to the contrary, she really doesn’t exist. *winks toward JY, Cedar, and Dorothy*

    • Whether you imagine it or not, the “fact” of your gender oppression is a cudgel with which to beat into submission men too respectful of women. That you would by your existence deny this tool to fellows in vaginatude is enough to convict you as gendertraitor.

      Damn the facts, full narrative ahead!

      • I like respectful men, my eldest has even started opening car doors for me. Clearly this is further proof of my “programming”.

        I like “fellows in vaginatude”. But I don’t remember signing up for their war
        .

        • You were drafted at birth.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          It’s funny.

          We’re told that men opening doors for women is a sign that the men think they’re superior to women.

          Yet one of the hallmarks of “Very Important People” is that other people open doors for them as well as do other things for the “Very Important People”.

          So why is it a mark of male superiority for them to open doors for women? [Very Very Big Grin]

          • Because it only works if every single possible action you take is “proof” of your oppressive nature. That’s how you know the game is rigged, and a good sign that it’s time to go play something more honest. Like 3 Card Monty.

          • Because the rule is “this oppresses women, figure out how”.

            • Exactly. The operating principle is to start with a conclusion and then work back to determine the methodology.

          • (Stomps foot) Because it is, dammit! If you had a hoo-ha to think with you would know that!

            This is a perfect demonstration of how logic is a tool of the patriarchy. Halp, halp! The Dragon is being oppressive!

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              ::The Dragon takes a long look at the Wallaby.::

              I wonder if Wallaby tastes good. [Very Big Dragon Grin]

            • the dragon thinks you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.

              • Shows how much dragons know! Everybody knows the proper condiment for Wallaby is Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce! Nothing else brings out the subtle smokey sweet-hot piquancy half so well.

                • Don’t tell me. Tell the dragon.

                  Everyone else, I’ve got popcorn!

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Considering that the Dragon has reliable information that this Wallaby is poisonous, the Wallaby won’t be eaten.

                    Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Wallaby is safe.

                    Right now the Dragon is thinking of very interesting ways for the Wallaby to be killed. [Very Very Big Dragon Grin]

                    • This wallaby is not for killin’. Several others have done it and it never lasts. The wallaby apparently has commitment issues about remaining dead.

                      The wallaby may be truly dead but the wallaby is not most sincerely dead.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      OH GREAT!!!! That means that the Dragon can kill you thousands or even millions of Time! [Very Very Very Big Dragon Grin]

                    • At various times it has been a party game.

                      What happens is I go UP and they don’t want me, so I go DOWN and they won’t accept delivery, either. So I end up back here again. After a bit the Powers That Be get annoyed at the paperwork involved and take out their ire on whoever keeps killing me.

                    • You and Tomlinson….. surely you can find a better model. 😉

                    • You’re an X-Man?!?

                    • I think it is the puns — neither side is willing to tolerate them.

                    • Are you sure you’re not a Marvel character?

                      They do have Squirrel Girl, after all.

                    • I’m not, but my uncle is.


                      Here’s a picture of him with a couple of business associates.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, I’ve always believed that you were Impossible so I guess it’s a family characteristic. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                    • Oh, that makes sense; you’re on the Family Pass for the revolving door to the afterlife.

                • Cholula’s discontinuing their Chili Roast Garlic seasoning (heck, all their dry seasonings) was a clear sign of the impending apocalypse. It’s only a matter of time now.

            • Don’t forget the glitter.

              • You know, Wayne, you just made me realize what is wrong with all of them – glitter has got to be worse than sand. This whole problem could have been averted with a little soap and water!

            • My answer to that awful, condescending “vote like you lady parts depend on it” campaign was to keep pointing out that my brain *is* a lady part (I’m a lady, by definition *all my parts are lady parts) and seemed like a better guide than my gonads. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth.

            • The hoo-ha has to be glittery for that.

          • RealityObserver

            I even hold umbrellas – and I’ve never had the honor of being a Marine.

        • Exactly on the last. I can’t be a traitor. I never swore fealty. What a stupid thing to fight for. Their standard has a vagina rampant, I suppose. (Lena Dunham probably.)

  12. Sarah;

    The indemnity paid by Germany was less, per capita, than the indemnity forced on the French by Germany in 1870. That indemnity was so large it warped the American monetary system, which had gone from silver, to Civil War inflationary greenbacks, to, in 1870, the now-deflating gold.

    Plus, the Germans were planning a vicious comeback, before any treaty was signed, before, I think, the Armistice: the Germans bargained with the Russian Bolsheviks to conceal and develop the weapons for the future Reich.

    • Um… I’m not going to argue with you because it’s not my area of expertise and also I learned my history in Europe, but even the books I read on the between-war period in the US disagree with you.
      ALSO forcing an indemnity on the French. Ah. Oy. Napoleon. I grew up looking at the wreckage he left in Portugal. Yeah. And he’s still a French national hero.

    • snelson134

      Not quite; however, the German military under the leadership of Hans von Seekt certainly resented the treaty and began undermining it before the Nazi Party existed. German Russian cooperation began in the early 1920s.with the Treaty of Rapallo/

    • I’ll begin with a disclaimer: I am most familiar with the effects of Versailles on the ground in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, and I am not an economic historian, so I’m not in a good position to weigh Gerhard Masur’s arguments about French indemnity payments in 1871-73 triggering the Panic of 1873. Given the goings on in the US at the time, the European bubble and its collapse may have had some effect, but not as much as US policies and over-expansion did (but see Masur, and Hobsbawm’s _Age of Capitalism_ and _Age of Empire_). The economies of Austria-Hungary and Germany were already heavily inflated by over-expanison in railroads, not unlike the French companies that backed Russian railroad development. None of the sources I’ve read about the US economy in the late 1800s place much weight on European influence on the US monetary system, aside from later, 1880s, investment because of the differences in interest and earnings available in the US versus Great Britain.

      If you are going to argue stringency of the two indemnities, I’d like to see what numbers and sources you are using. Because how population is defined and what conversion rates are used can really change things. (I note that the Wiki article on the French Indemnity leans heavily on Steinberg’s _Bismarck_. That I think I can dig out from my stored references, but what sources are you using for the Versailles indemnity comparison?)

      My research suggests that Germany lacked the manpower and resources for an immediate comeback, despite the heated claims made by some within the former Empire(s). Civil war broke out in Bavaria, Berlin, and other parts of former Imperial German in 1918-1920. Austria and Hungary were fighting Italian, Croatian, Serbian, and Romanian forces into 1922, along with domestic uprisings by Communists and nationalists. Yes, the Germans did work with the Soviet Union starting in the mid 1920s, notably for the development of armored vehicles. That is after Versailles, after it became apparent that the western Entente powers intended to keep Germany (and the Soviet Union) in pariah status for as long as possible.

      • RealityObserver

        I don’t remember any mention in “Bismarck” of the per capita impact of the indemnity (excellent book BTW, recommended for anyone interested in the internal machinations leading to and defining the Kaiser’s Empire).

        It certainly did not seem to affect their ability to pay it off. Although that may be more due to the fact that the amount was still somewhat based on indemnities imposed before the industrial revolution immensely increased individual productivity.

        You have obviously read extensively on the period, also – and I am wondering. My researches have led me to the conclusion that it was *not* Germany that started the war – it was the Austro-Hungarian Empire.Their diplomatic corp are at least are guilty of keeping their German counterparts in the dark about what they were up to, if not outright lying to them. (Now, I do think that it took cooperation from the Serbs, and *some* few bureaucrats in the German government, to actually set the switches for the train wreck – but I do mostly blame the bull-headed AH elites trying to keep things “as they had always been.”)

        • (Waggles hand) A-H knew good and well that if it came down to them vs. Russia, they were toast. However, Germany, by all accounts, gave them an offer of full backing.
          Whether or not the Germans knew what they were up to is more speculative, but if they didn’t have at least an idea, the Kaiser’s diplomats and intel people were exceedingly incompetent.

          • RealityObserver

            Some Germans (who really didn’t have that authority) gave them that assurance. Then, of course, their bosses couldn’t back down…

            In many ways, what it all boils down to is the old phrase “never ascribe to malice what is explainable by sheer incompetence” – and there was definitely sheer incompetence in *every* national government at the time.

      • I’ve posted my take below, since it got a “wee bit” long for the nesting.

  13. “If you’re held constantly guilty of things you did NOT do and could not have changed, you’re going to DO something anyway.” – which is exactly why I fear the current campus fixation on assuming all male students are potential rapists may have very negative consequences for some female students not smart enough to avoid drunk partying.

  14. Could any of them have spoken up? Many did.

    And died.

    The Nazis learned well about smashing anybody who openly resisted them– there’s a letter from the Pope during WWII floating around warning some of his more active bishops to actually do stuff instead of making statements, because in the countries where the bishops talked instead of acting, the vast majority of the Jewish population and a sizable portion of the Catholic were shipped off for death camps out-of-country. (Talk about preventing group action.)

    • Look up the Rosenstraße protests. A handful of Germans protested when the round-ups hit close to home—and the Nazi government backed down.

      • At home, at a bad time, and with a group that was both well connected (which is why they weren’t planning on killing most of the men until after the war) and highly emotionally charged if they’d been forcibly shut down. (German women)
        http://www.jspacenews.com/rosenstrasse-protest/

        Also, 200 is not a “handful” if the group is not one prone to protesting.

      • Contrast with less than a year before, in Holland:
        The Catholic bishops of Holland published a pastoral letter read in all the Catholic churches throughout the country on April 19, 1942, condemning the unmerciful and unjust treatment meted out to Jews by those in power in our country.32 And in a telegram dated July 11, 1942, the bishops demanded the suspension of coercive measures against unchristened as well as christened Jews. But the deportations continued. On July 26, the bishops joined with representatives of almost all other religious communities to denounce the Nazis’ lawless measures, but the response, as we have seen, was mass arrests of Catholics and Jews, among them Dr. Edith Stein, a convert to Catholicism and a nun, who was sent to Auschwitz.33
        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/piusdef2.html

        The week after the letter was read, every priest, monk and nun with Jewish blood was arrested for the camps.

        The end result for the Jewish community, though not listed on that page, was about 8 out of 10 being sent from Holland to death camps.

        • The Rosenstraße-Protest was definitely an exceptional case in many ways, and was only possible because the women were German citizens, and in Berlin itself. And by the time it happened, it was far too late for this to be an example anyone could emulate.

          It’s a useful lesson, though: Even when you have good reason to think nothing can be done (as did most Germans)—sometimes you’re wrong.

          • It’s a useful lesson, though: Even when you have good reason to think nothing can be done (as did most Germans)—sometimes you’re wrong.

            Unfortunately, it doesn’t teach that.

            It shows that when a group that has a decade of being too politically powerful to be messed with is targeted, and about one in four hundred think they have enough of a chance to resist that they actually do something extremely unusual in a very public place and are of a group where the most favored tactics would be problematic, and the timing is right, it sometimes works.

            As opposed to larger groups who weren’t as well connected and were suitable targets for the favored, effective counter-attacks.

  15. Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives are ill advised to try to guilt me. Because I will say “Followers of your philistine statist religion murdered more people in one century than white protestants have in all of human history.”

    Now, that may not be strictly true. I don’t know (I suspect it is). But announce to a LIRP that you are prepared to hold them responsible for the consequencces of their fondness for phsychotics and they scuttle.

    • snelson134

      My experience is that they then start spouting that Hitler a) wasn’t a socialist, b) was a Christian, or c)both.

      • The first of which is debatable; the latter is most certainly untrue.

        • Nazi is abbreviation for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei which means “National Socialist German Workers’ Party”. So, Hitler was a socialist.

          • That merely establishes Hitler’s claim to be a Socialist; the man also blathered (in public) about the need to defend Christianity from the Godless Bolsheviks.

            • That just tells us what he thought would work; his policies for Christianity were about subverting it to the service of the state.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Nod. There was a notable attempt to bring German Lutheranism into line with the “ideals” of National Socialism.

              • Hitler recognized Christianity as the faith of the majority of Germans and thus attempted to hollow out the religion and replace it with Norse paganism. Under his Reich German schools stopped teaching the Bible, replacing it with reading of and instruction in Mein Kampf. In all likelihood any quote from Hitler endorsing the Christian Church was using it as a tool to whip his populace in the direction he sought.

                Certainly there seem few Christian strictures or tenets adhered to by Hitler, which would seem to be the proper measure of a person’s faith.

                Any argument derived from what Hitler said in public fails under the basic fact that Hitler was a liar.

                • Any argument derived from what Hitler said in public fails under the basic fact that Hitler was a liar.

                  True.

                  Although the evidence of him trying to enslave or destroy religion to his goals does support the socialist thing– the USSR is especially well known for that kind of junk. Part of what’s freaking out Putin watchers.

                • Well yes; that was my point.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Mao, Stalin, then Hitler, then Leopold. What was Leopold on Paper?

      • Meh, irrelevant if they don’t follow the binding bits of the group. (Pretty sure we can agree that socialism doesn’t get to claim a standard beyond what anyone else has and thus evade all the bad results, though.)

  16. In Reply to RealityObserver at 6:28PM above, since this will be kinda long:

    Whoo boy. Right now so much new stuff has come out as to “who started it” that I can’t keep up, and I’ve been trying for a while. The British-American understanding has been that Austria was the trigger but Germany was the real force. Now several people have said it was the Austrians, more specifically in one case the Hungarians, who set things in motion because of the military policies they indirectly (and in some cases directly) encouraged and their treatment of non-Magyars within Hungary.

    The arguments seem to fall into: 1) the Austrians were spoiling for a fight to retain/regain their position as a real power and to distract from internal strains and that they dragged Germany into the fight through misinterpretation and half-truths. 2) The Germans started it because of their fear of encirclement and that they knew a war was coming so they decided to use the assassination of Franz Ferdinand as an excuse and encouraged Austria to go overboard. 3) The French encouraged the Russians to pressure teh Serbs in order to cut Austria and Germany down to size by regaining the “lost provinces.” 4) The Russians are to blame because if they had not declared war on Austria after Austria went after the Serbs, it would not have triggered the alliances into full-out war. Their pressure on Germany and Austria prior to 1914 also fueled the race to war.

    One thing to keep in mind is that in June 1914, everyone and I mean everyone in Europe agreed that Austria had a right to punish Serbia for the assassination. Now, for reasons I won’t get into (see G. Wawro’s book about the start of the war), Austria didn’t act very quickly, in part because they were very concerned about having Germany’s support in case the Russians made good on their threats to intervene for Serbia. The Russians had been getting copies of enormous amounts of Austrian military planning and operational material for a decade before the traitor got caught in 1912, and so the Germans (who had been suspicious before) more-or-less stopped talking to Austria about planning and mobilization because of security concerns. The Austrians were peeved about the German plans for a westward push, and wanted the Germans to be ready for a Russian attack. And no one anticipated that Russia could mobilize in less than two months, probably three, because of the Russo-Japanese War.

    To wrap up an overlong reply that really could be a whole blog post (sorry Sarah!), I’d say, based on what I’ve read, Austria: 40%, Germany: 40%, Serbia: 10%, Russia 10%. If yo go back farther, to a start date in 1873 or so, then I’d shift it around a little more to Germany because of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s naval race and destruction of Bismarck’s alliance system.

    tl;dr – There’s a lot of blame to go around and the arguments are still being launched.

    • Tx, I’d have to disagree with you on parceling out the responsibility the way you’re doing it.

      One of the more interesting and almost entirely unexamined aspects of this whole “Who started WWI?” issue is precisely what went on in Serbia before and during the assassination period. I grew up with a bunch of expat Yugoslavs, back when Yugoslavia was a thing, and it was fascinating to listen to them dissect the history of that period, reading through the textbooks and history books I had been given here in the US.

      For one thing, it’s a common Serbian belief that they were set up as fall guys for the Russians, and that they were betrayed by the intelligence apparatus that was running the Black Hand, who were in turn running the Bosnian group Young Bosnia. Supposedly, the Black Hand was given financing and instruction directly out of the Russian Embassy, and were basically a front organization for the Russians. This is in complete consonance with how the Russian Empire went about doing business in the Caucasus and managing the conquest of all the so-called ” ‘stans”. The assassination of the Archduke is just seen as the point where they finally got their hands burned off.

      There isn’t a lot in the English language on the issue, but in the Balkans, much of the blame is laid at the door of the Russian Empire’s expansionist goals; the Imperial Russians, they believe, were engaging in clear adventurism, traceable right back to the period when the Cossacks were running wild in the Ukraine and elsewhere, fighting the Turks. It is seen as a continuous thread, with all of that.

      What gets argued a great deal is who, precisely, was behind the whole thing in the Russian government. Few think the Czar had a clue what was going on; most think it was rogue elements in the Okrana. A lot of Serbs point to the fact that the Communists basically took the entire body of the Okrana into the various successor intelligence agencies, and point to this as evidence for there being a continuous ongoing Russian effort in these areas. You don’t even want to get some of these guys going on what’s happening over there, right now.

      So… Honestly, I think apportioning 10% of the responsibility to the Russians is a bit on the low side. I’d say it’s probably more like 30%-50%, at a minimum, and that’s only because I don’t know who was behind the whole thing. We know that the Black Hand was basically run from the Russian Embassy, and we know that they were running the Young Bosnians. Someone in the Russian intelligence apparatus had to know that they were planning on assassinating the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and they either actively encouraged that or they just didn’t try to stop it. This being the case, I think that whoever that was deserves a fairly large chunk of the blame for the whole disaster. I just wonder if Nicholas II was informed, and I have to say that if he was, and he approved of what was done in his name, what happened to the Russian Royal Family at Ekaterinaberg was pretty much poetic justice run rampant.

      • Kirk, a really good friend of mine weights the Russians about the way you do. I just don’t know that much about Russian policies and activities in the period between 1880 to 1914, so I didn’t want to go too far out on a limb without sources I could refer people to. I tend to start hearing the sounds of sawing behind me when I do that. *wry grin*

    • RealityObserver

      *All* of the above…

      I’m not sure it was you (my mouse wheel is out, and it takes forever to scroll now that I’d gotten used to the dang thing) – but someone said earlier that “The Great War” was going to happen, it just would have had a slightly different date, and a slightly different cause. Every nation had objectives that were incompatible with the objectives of every other nation (yes, even those that ended up allied with each other), and just about every nation had a misplaced confidence that they would win – and do so quickly and without a great deal of fuss. IMHO, one could go back to the days of the Holy Roman Empire and find the roots of the war – and pretty much predict its inevitability even then.

      • I’d go back to the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. And yes, if you read the literature (as in popular novels and poems, magazine serials and so on) from 1900 through late 1914, everyone assumed it would be the Franco-Prussian or Russo-Japanese war: fierce, bloody, short. There was talk about how the younger generation needed a war to prove their manhood and to improve the health of the nation, and that came from pretty much all sides (with the possible exception of Russia, but I don’t read Russian, and, well, they were knee-deep in a whole other mess.)

        • I’m still convinced that nuclear weapons is the only reason we didn’t have another one in the ’70s or so.

          • After 1) the utterly gonzo mess of history I’ve been slowly reading over, and 2) the blank-blank-blank response of some of the not obviously insane on Twitter to D-Day (short form, saying D-Day wasn’t worth much because America didn’t swoop in to save Europe much earlier)

            I’m pretty sure I agree with you, although it’s not just nukes, it’s nukes that only Americans had deployed. Those guys are bug-nuts.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Yep. Too many nutcases “blame” the US for not getting involved earlier in WW2. Of course, if France and Britain had done their job right, Hitler would have been stopped when it was easy to stop him. [Frown]

              Oh, don’t get me started on the nutcases who thought if the US had joined the League of Nations, WW2 wouldn’t have happened.

              • of course, most of them also think the UN can prevent wars.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Right! The UN did a great job in stopping George W Bush from going to war! [Very Big Evil Grin]

                • Not an entirely unreasonable belief. After all, given its way the UN would ensure ta quick end to the Israel-Palestinian war.

                  Massacres, sure (cough*Rwanda) but no wars.

              • And then they whine about our military presence. We tell ’em we tried leaving them alone, we call the results WWII.

  17. Well, I’m off the hook on this “sins of the fathers” guilt thing. My ancestors fought for the Union.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Well, that doesn’t matter to the nut-cases.

      IIRC, first there’s the idea that the US was “built on Slave Labor” both North & South thus we’re all guilty.

      Second, we’re all guilty because the Founders didn’t force the South to end Slavery.

      Third, “everybody” knows that the ACW wasn’t “really” about Slavery and of course the North was more interested in keeping the South part of the Union instead of Freeing the Slaves.

      Sorry but the only way (according to the nut-cases) that we can “be free of the Guilt for Slavery” is to do whatever the nut-cases want us to do. [Frown]

    • The original ships and rum for the slave trade came from New England. Now, they stopped once enough had been transported to the new world, but let’s face it, you’re guilty because you ancestors left Africa and butchered all the Neanderthal on your way to world domination.

    • We don’t discuss the American Civil War hereabouts. It tends to ignite.

      • RealityObserver

        Has discussing those nasty Cro-Magnon been banned yet?

      • Since the post topic was ‘Guilt’ it is like waving a red flag.
        Sorry, I am guilty of forgetting that rule and going there.

        • Let’s just agree that 1) if your ancestors came from Europe, you are guilty. 2) If one of your ancestors was male, you are guilty. 3) If you do or don’t believe in a Higher Power, you are guilty. Of something, somewhen, somewhere, against someone smaller/weaker/of a different sex/different color/different language/different social status/different species. I think that covers it. 😉

          • RealityObserver

            4) If you own a piece of property, you are guilty.

            • 5) If you challenge or dispute this, you are guilty.
              6) If you think you are not guilty, you are guilty.

          • Including from those regions of Europe where the Slavonic peoples live. Being so heavily raided that the word “slave” derives from you is no injury.

  18. Professor Badness

    I love reading these comments. I get so much history that was skipped over in my college classes.
    The downside is that my reading list just keeps getting longer.
    (But I just quit my job, so I should have more time to read, right? By the way, does anyone know of job openings in the Ogden Utah area?)
    *Sickly Smile*

    • RealityObserver

      JohnnyLaForce may have some contacts up that way (the only contact I have for him is via Baen’s bar – he usually hangs out in the Kratskeller).

  19. Some female politruk wannabe writing in al-Guardian (where else) proposes a year of only female authors published. http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/208134/ Peak self-parody

    • RealityObserver

      My comment to that (I saw this on the Passive Voice, not PJ):

      We’re missing the real objective here. It is *not* the total number of sales that the SJW crowd is targeting – it is the *percentage* of whatever sales are made. So the objective is to capture the gate, not tear it down.

      If there are one million sales before they capture the gate, and they get 10% of that, they hate it. If there are only ten thousand sales after they capture the gate, but they get 99.9% of that, they will be exhilarated.

      I would say that at least 50% of the “gated” publications are garbage. Eliminate one major supplier of the non-garbage, and 95% will be garbage.

      (Of course, there is one scenario in which they just might both increase their percentage *and* their sales – eliminate e-books and engineer a Venezuela-style toilet paper shortage. Hmmm… that may explain a few things about them.)

    • One year is insufficient to atone for the oppression imposed by the patriarchy; I say that all responsible publishers should restrict themselves to publishing only female* authors for five … no, ten, ten years. In fact, for the first five years they should publish only womyn of colour!!!**

      Irresponsible publishers, such as Baen, Regnery, Liberty Island and Independents, will of course ignore this stricture and publish only those authors their readers want to read.

      *definition to be determined — probably not John Scalzi although an executive committee of the female participants on FNC’s Outnumbered*** can meet to hear his groveling arguments for his publication.

      **whatever the heck that means, but it should certainly bar Hillary Rodham Clinton from any more sweetheart book deals unless until she discovers her cheekbones are “high.”.

      ***alternatively, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Megyn Kelly, Kirsten Powers and Bruce Katlyn Caitlyn Jenner**** can rule on this.

      ****alternatively, Sarah Hoyt, Kate Paulk, Cedar Sanderson, Pam Uphoff, Amanda Green, Bridget Correia and three selected female regular commentors of this blog, chosen on ad hoc and availability basis.

    • On the other hand, this blog post
      http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/06/02/and-i-show-you-how-deep-the-rabbit-hole-goes/
      includes the comment:
      “If the title of this is not Which Pill Do You Choose? please specify what it is, because I’m nominating this for a Hugo next year.”

      News is spreading.