Social Injustice – 60 Guilders

Social Injustice – 60 Guilders

One of the things that most people who aren’t hopelessly mired in conspiratorial thinking have figured out is that the Holocaust—referring to the whole 12 million dead—was a rather evil thing to do. However, some people seem to be confused as to why it was an evil thing to do.

Here’s what I mean. There’s this underlying tone, whenever you see people talking about the “Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy to destroy Germany” and the “stab in the back” theory of why Germany lost World War I, that the latter was come up with out of whole cloth by the German aristocracy and military while the former was Hitler’s own insane twist on the theory.

Unfortunately, neither one of those statements is entirely true. First, while Germany would have ended up losing World War I even without its internal issues, the fact of the matter is that the morale issues and general disaffection that led the German high command to sue for peace in 1918 were exacerbated by socialist agitation. The most obvious result of this was the Kiel mutiny, when the sailors of the German navy refused to go out and have a last “glorious” battle with the British and proceeded to set up a socialist-led soldiers and workers council, and eventually forced the German government to overthrow the Kaiser. In other words, the “stab in the back” happened—it’s just that it was more of a result of Germany’s loss of the war than the cause of it.

As to the “Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy”—well, the awkward thing is that a disproportionate amount of Jews were involved in leftism in this period. Many of the leaders of the Spartacus League, which was heavily involved in the 1919 Spartacist uprising that attempted to take over Berlin, were Jewish, as were many within the Bolshevik uprising in Russia itself. The reason for this, of course, was that a disproportionate number of Jews were intellectuals, and intellectuals are often attracted to leftism. Now, the emphasis on Judaism was part and parcel of a longstanding pattern of German and European anti-Semitism, while the destruction of Germany/the German people was a case of a toxic combination of “They believe, as I do, that their policies are bad for Germany” and projection.

However, it should be noted that both of these theories, like all the really powerful lies, had a little kernel of truth in them, and a lot of belief behind them. There had been a socialist uprising in Germany that served as the straw that broke the camel’s back, and there were a number of Jews involved in the German left.

This brings me to a particularly unfortunate book I was required to read in college called What About Hitler, which, in the process of attempting to claim that total pacifism was the only possible Christian way of thinking about war and violence, mentioned that Hitler, under just war criteria, was justified in his actions. I should note, in the author’s defense, that this was a dig at just war theory rather than a defense of Hitler.

Anyway, that just really seemed wrong to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Then it hit me. Any sort of justification Hitler might have been able to scrounge up under even the most ludicrously loose interpretation of just war theory was thrown out the window when he decided to engage in genocide, because attempting to annihilate entire people groups—Jews, Germans—for the actions of a secret or not-so-secret cabal, is wrong, because almost all of them will have committed no crime except possessing the temerity to be conceived in the wrong woman’s fallopian tube. For that matter, this is why going after any sort of group of people based on birth characteristics—race, sex, parentage, and the like—is a bad thing.

Unfortunately, that underlying tone of “Of course what Hitler and the Nazis did was unjustifiable, they were wrong about what was going on around them” whenever the topic of the Holocaust is discussed implies that, if they had been right, what they did would have been, at least, justifiable. In other words, there’s an acceptance of the underlying logic of collective justice going on there, and when you put adjectives in front of justice, you almost never get justice.

Which brings us to the current brawl in SF/F and the wider culture. There’s a very large swathe, of Western society that has regressed, though they call it progress, to the idea that one should deliberately punish all members of a group for the actions, real or imagined, of a few members, and to the idea that because members of a group are overrepresented in a particular area that it is a deliberate choice on the part of the group, rather than an accident of history.

You see it nearly everywhere. The idea that SF was somehow filled with racist, sexist hatemongers until…well, as near as I can tell, around five years ago is ludicrous when you have H. Beam Piper writing stories where racial intermarriage has turned almost all of humanity a nice shade of brown and there are heroic characters with names like Themistocles M’Zangwe. But, even if that were true—what, we should stop reading (and buying books from) straight white male authors for an entire year? Because a bunch of people they never even met were theoretically jerks?

On a societal level, however, that’s not especially important. However, you see the same kind of thing with the recent controversies over Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray. Because white cops were involved (even if they weren’t the only ones there), and the dead men were black, suddenly all cops, particularly white ones, were evil, racist, brutal, Gestapo agents. For that matter, all of white America was somehow responsible for the supposed unfair targeting of black men by police, as well as the racial disparities in arrests. Because, apparently, all of white America is responsible for Ferguson’s city council kidnapping Lady Justice and whoring her out to Mammon, New York’s government deciding to be a bluenose, the crime-ridden sinkhole that Baltimore has become, and the weirdnesses of the American criminal justice system.

And if those don’t ring your bell, pick a controversial topic in our society today, and I will almost guarantee that it’s controversial because someone has decided that collective justice is something we as a society should engage in it. Confederate flags, stop and frisk, removal of tax exemptions, affirmative action…I could go on, but I am a guest here.

Now, the thing is, a certain amount of “collective justice” is inevitable—there is, to quote John Piper, a fine line between legitimate probability judgments and racism (fill in with whatever –ism you like). But it should not be a societal value, because when society starts tarring all members of a group with the actions of a few of its present-day members or members who the present-day members have never met, that’s when people decide it’s better to be hung for a sheep than a lamb.

In the best-case scenario for that eventuality, the fabric of society frays a bit more, and we’re all a little worse off. In the worst case, the crops are exceedingly well-fertilized the next year.

360 responses to “Social Injustice – 60 Guilders

  1. Group punishment makes sense when and only when the group exerts an extremely high degree of control over its individual members. This applies to the Military, the Mafia, various criminal gangs and very few other naturally occurring groups. Assuredly it has nothing to do with race (although some small bit to do with culture) and occasionally if rarely with religion/philosophy.

    It nearly always represents an abandonment of respect for the individual’s responsibility and thus represents instead a dehumanization process which almost inevitably leads to the same result.

    • The “group punishment” thing was state-of-the-art educational procedure when I was in elementary and junior high. I got expelled a few times for not playing along.

      I think they were more upset that I was giving the other kids bad ideas than by my rejection of their unjust punishment…

      I spent a *lot* of time expelled because I wouldn’t show up for detention either. And I still feel completely justified in the incidents when I responded to some “educator” hitting me with a stick by punching them in the face.

      We had “group grades” in elementary school. It took about a week for me to figure out that meant only one person was going to be the one working while the rest goofed off. For some reason the teachers felt I wasn’t “doing my part” by doing 100% of the work, and the other kids were angry when we got a collective “F” after I stopped. That kind of Communist indoctrination went away after a few years, but unlike much of the BS they tried to feed us, that was a “life lesson” I was able to re-use many times in the workplace…

      • My first thought in response to the sentence about it only working for specific kinds of controlling groups was “And yet they keep trying it in schools….”

    • It can work for things that someone chooses (either to join or, if there’s a cost associated with it, to not leave) if it’s got a high degree of predictive value for the traits– making assumptions based on how I dress is sensible if you’re asking me horse/ranch questions when I’m wearing a worn western shirt, inartistic jeans and worn boots; assuming I’m an insane feminazi because I’m wearing jeans, simple ponytail and a t-shirt, while ignoring that I’ve got a burp rag over my shoulder and smell strongly of cleaning supplies, is silly.

      One of those cases where “it works” aligns with justice– which loops back around to what ‘social justice’ is supposed to be, a description of how to organize a society to promote justice. (That-which-each-is-due; I think I’ve ranted about how modern ‘social justice’ does exactly the opposite a few times.)

      I’m rather depressed to hear that the perversion of “just war theory” is older than the flailing around about ’02 because of Iraq. (How hard is it to figure out that it’s a matter of scaling up interacting with people?!?)

      • Regarding the misinterpretation of just War Theory, never overlook the possibility such is intentional rather than any failure of understanding.

        We see all too much on display in internet arguments where a troll person seems to work harder at taking the worst possible interpretation of any statement than at accepting it at face value.
        (See: Argument of Bad Faith)

        • William O. B'Livion

          In my second year of college, after 4 years in the Marines, I took a philosophy class called something like “The philosophy of War and Peace” or some such crap.

          It started with Real Politic, moved and into various peacenik bullshit philosophies.

          My final paper, for which I got a C+, presented the argument that was never made in the class-that if you have certain values, if you believe strongly enough that your worldview is right, and that the other parties world view is destructive and wrong, even if they don’t threaten you using force is a valid and moral option.

          I got a C+, because (at least according to the TA) my paper was well reasoned and backed up, but, well, that wasn’t *the assignment*.

          Yeah, I can live with that.

        • Overlooking isn’t the problem– or, rather, it’s an all too human problem.

          Taking a route other than “you’re doing that on purpose” is the challenge.

          Thus why I disregard it out of hand.

    • It doesn’t work well in the military past a certain point outside of certain contexts. Wise commanders don’t use it except when there actually is a group sin committed.

      • Yeah, nothing improves morale and punctuality like mustering 30 minutes early because one guy can’t show up on time.

        • Ah, but you mistake the point of the exercise. You’re not being collectively punished because someone is late, but because the organism that is the unit failed to police one of its members.

          One guy missing a movement isn’t an individual problem; it’s an organizational one, and one that can wreak havoc across the board when it comes to coordinating actions. Collective punishment is a requirement, because you have to train the individuals in the organization that all suffer when one member fails–Encouraging the individuals making up the organization to exert influence and care that members don’t slack off and go screwing around when things need doing in the absence of supervision.

          You only need to be the guy whose name is on the blame line for organizational fumbles resultant from individual acts of indiscipline a few times before you realize that you need to train that inchaote beast that is the collective as well as you train the individuals who make it up. And, you do that only through “unreasonable” things like collective punishments. What’s really unfortunate is that all the rules of operant conditioning that allow for use of positive reinforcement with individuals don’t seem to work with collectives, unless you’ve got a cadre of bastards working for you out-of-sight that are willing to take the steps necessary to make sure that everyone of your little darling’s are standing tall when they’re supposed to. And, that requires you turning a blind eye to “peer abuse”… ‘Cos, that’s the only thing that seems to work, sadly.

          • You do realize that we’ve spent the last 30 years training kids to resist peer pressure as an anti-drug technique?

            Also, Navy Nukes aren’t inchoate beasts, even in aggregate. They are highly intelligent people who are literally trained to have a questioning attitude. If you apply collective punishment to such an organization you don’t get self-policing, you get dysfunction. Given the rate of technological progress, the military is moving closer to Nukes than to the old “Stand here and stick the pointy end of this stick into anyone who doesn’t look like you.”

            • Know how I can tell you were never a senior leader of an actual military unit?

              Yeah.

              You’ve got an entirely unjustified belief in the perfectability of mankind, ‘cos you’ve only ever worked with and in units chock-filled with the atypical, CAT I personnel. Folks you can reason with, folks who typically watch their peers that ain’t CAT I category go off to do stupid shit, and then stand there in formation and tell the boss, so fucking helpfully, that PVT Conrad was last seen wandering off to find ajima, so’s he could buy a couple of cokes before the convoy left… Despite clear instructions to the contrary, issued not an hour prior.

              Collective punishment is, sadly, the only damn thing that works in these situations. God knows I tried a bunch of other techniques, down the years, and about the only thing that produced results in situations like the above was to smile, and do something that would impinge on Mr. CAT I’s personal space, so as to motivate his oblivious ass to actually do something when one of his less bright peers started to do something stupid…

              I used to have a lot of respect for smart people, being fairly smart myself (CAT I, by a comfortable margin). What I learned through sad experience is, the smarter you are, the dumber your actual performance. “Smart” people in the military generally come with several other personal characteristics: Immaturity, self-centeredness, and arrogance. Until someone puts a boot up their ass, and they find the motivation to do what a CATIII B would do, instinctively. Like, actually police their peers. Worst situation I can possibly imagine is one where you have nothing but CAT I and CAT IV subordinates, and I have lived that dream. Nightmare, actually…

              Frankly, I’d put a limit on the number of CAT I personnel I let in the military. Especially in the combat arms branches of the ground forces–You get a situation where more than about 20% of the unit is CAT I, and the amount of demonstrated stupidity in terms of them “doing their own thing” becomes virtually unsurvivable as an organization. Sweet Jeebus… The few times where I had to deal with situations where that happened, it was something of nightmare proportions. You’d think it would be a wonderful thing, but it isn’t, especially dealing with a bunch of little prima donna pricks that think their excrement doesn’t smell. You can’t build a working team organization out of seven men who are all pulling in divergent directions, and who appear unwilling and unable to grasp that individual ego has to be subordinated to organizational cause, or disaster ensues.

              I lived with that for about three months, and then I was in the boss’s office demanding that they break up that little coterie of geniuses, or they needed to find someone else to do my job. After taking a look at the situation, we spread the “wealth” out across the company, and I was able to build a working squad that won organizational competitions regularly out of the “lesser men” I was given to work with. Brains aren’t everything, which is why most A and B students wind up working for the guy that graduates with a C…

              • Collective punishment is a sign of lazy and incompetent leadership. I’m not surprised you’re a fan.

                Does the Army do re-enlistments for orders? Because if they do I’d bet you had one of the highest retention rates ever.

                • You never did the job I did. Nor did you ever have the responsibility of keeping men alive in exigent circumstances, even in training environments. Your idea of “good leadership” is apparently being Mr. Huggy Carebear, while mine is “keep the stupid fuckers alive despite their every attempt to kill themselves while they’re working for me…”.

                  Real people don’t do things that are time-consuming, uncomfortable, or disturbing, without some sort of goad. Especially in situations where they can’t see a benefit to conforming to discipline. I had idiots working for me who constantly took off protective gear, not only in training, but in combat. Why? Hell, you tell me–Why the hell would you take off a helmet and body armor when you know damn well that you’re under potential indirect fire? Common sense would tell you that if there’s an artillery or rocket strike, you’re going to need it. But, people, including some of those same CAT I super-geniuses you’re so fond of, took their shit off when they thought they could get away with it. At least, until they had the salutary experience of actually taking indirect fires, that is…

                  You could explain it to them a million times, cajole them, encourage them, set the example, whatever. They still ignore you. The only thing that works, sadly, is “being a dick”, and using draconian enforcement measures. Which include collective punishment, because the idiot without his helmet and vest is surrounded by his peers, who did nothing to ensure that said idiot stayed in uniform.

                  Same principle applies to a lot of measures you never see, working in the nuke room of a ship. Things like keeping in uniform, which is hot and uncomfortable, because your uniform is treated with Permethrin that’s going to kill the insect vectors that spread the disease that’s going to remove your stupid ass from my unit when I and your buddies need you. And, again–Collective punishments in these cases are sometimes the only thing that works, because the troops don’t see cause and effect. It’s amazing how much difference there is between a unit that’s actually been under indirect fire, and one that hasn’t been. In the one, you have to watch out for people wearing body armor when they don’t need it, or they’re going to get heat stroke (leadership responsibility is to balance the risk, don’t you know?), and the other, you have to enforce wearing it. Again, you’re demanding that people do things against their nature. And, coincidentally, peer-enforce the measures. You don’t get that with a lot of people without punishing the group, until the majority realize that “If we don’t do what SFC K tells us to do, it’s not going to be good…”.

                  Real leaders can’t afford a situation where subordinates question everything and need explanations before following commands to the letter. You don’t have time to explain to troops that have never been in helicopters before that moving towards the rear of the UH-60 on debarkation is undesirable because the crew can’t see you, and that wind gusts on the LZ can cause the tail rotor to shift around, killing anyone in its path (and, maybe, the helicopter…). All you have time to do is to tell PVT Snuffy that he’s to move straight out from the door at a 90 degree azimuth for at least thirty meters, and not to deviate.

                  Additionally, the unit needs to know that my word is to be obeyed, so that one of PVT Snuffy’s peers is going to grab his ass, and direct his movements to safety if he even begins to deviate. You don’t get that without a foundation of blind “the boss is gonna kill us if we don’t do exactly what he says…” obedience. You cannot afford to have your mid-level junior enlisted become willing to overlook what their juniors are doing, because they will, unless they quite viscerally know they’re going to suffer consequences.

                  If PVT Snuffy sees a better bit of cover towards the rear of the bird, decides he’s smarter than me, and there’s a bit of wind shear across the LZ? Guess what, genius: I’m down one man, maybe a helicopter, and there’s a big mess I get to clean up. Not to mention, I get to live with the guilt because, in the final analysis, I failed that idiot as a leader. Why? Because I set up a situation where that dumbass thought that obedience to my command was optional.

                  All because I did not condition my men to obey my commands without question, when I don’t have time to play Mr. Touchy-Feely and explain the ramifications of every damn thing I tell them.

                  Me playing Mr. Nice Guy New-Age Leader could, in potential, result in the loss of an entire aircraft, and a bunch of other people along with it. So, yeah… Imma gonna collectively punish, when necessary. It’s not nice, it’s not “cool”, but it has a certain bloody-minded necessity–Which you’re never going to grasp, because you’ve never had to deal with that sort of thing, having spent your time in the military in a field where everyone is doing a nice, safe, predictable job, and you’ve had the luxury of dealing only with people that have been thoroughly trained in every single likely potential event in your little realm. Not every field is like that, which you’ve apparently missed.

                  People like you get people killed in training and combat, all the damn time. And, what sucks is that a lot of the “why” remains invisible to your ilk, even after the fact. Because you’re smarter than the rest of us troglodytes that have actually run troops in field and combat conditions. Or, not.

                  • You can rationalize all you want, you’re still a shitty leader. But that’s to be expected, being a horrible person and all.

                    • Jeff, you better be smiling when you say that. It isn’t as if you have been in Kirk’s shoes and tasked with performing Kirk’s duties.

                      Kirk – you and Jeff have been getting a mite personal in your arguments without recognizing that different circumstances mandate different approaches.

                      I suggest you both push away from the keyboards and contemplate the three things:


                      Does this have to be said? Does it have to be said by me? Does it have to be said by me right now?

                      Watch the damned video. Don’t crush the berries.

              • clark e myers

                When I knew something about it the Army at least paid lip service to keeping IQ range within 20 IQ points for folks working together.

                My favorite story – happy ending for some values of happy – was a time when Berlin Brigade had the size of a division and combined arms from all over. Folks decided the nerds and geeks doing interceptions and analysis needed a better physical profile for future issues. The geeks and nerds had accepted that when the balloon went up they’d have the same sort of body guards the Marine code talkers had and they were good with that. So the Secretary of Defense got an early morning we’re going to war alert that concluded accidents like this happen if we’re all exhausted from PT.

                It takes all kinds – “Nothing is more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.” and arguably the variations.

            • You do realize that we’ve spent the last 30 years training kids to resist peer pressure as an anti-drug technique?

              Ummmm …. how’s that worked out? Especially since the schools are teaching submission to peer pressure in almost all other contexts?

              You are entirely correct ii distinguishing between Navy Nukes and ground-pounders: different beasts designed for different tasks. You would no more attempt to interchange Nukes and Jarheads than you would connect the same horse’s ass to a beer wagon as a tram.

              And yet the Nukes still have to function as a team and adhere to unit cohesion because failure affects the team — as you doubtless realized after staying up 36 hours straight to repair a problem caused by some slacker’s failure to accurately read and properly respond to a simple gauge or warning light.

              Your unit is part of the engine room, which is part of the larger unit the ship, which is part of the flotilla … For want of a nail a horse was lost …

              Keep in mind that, in the context used above [ July 31, 2015 at 10:01 am ], the reason for group punishment is related to rules of war which ascribe certain duties and responsibilities premised on the idea that a chain of command is effective. The likelihood of a ship’s Nukes committing a war crime seems sufficiently moot as to render your corporate culpability irrelevant. Front-line combat troops face a different level of responsibility to obey lawful commands.

              • ” as you doubtless realized after staying up 36 hours straight to repair a problem caused by some slacker’s failure to accurately read and properly respond to a simple gauge or warning light.”

                Actually, it was the guy who opened the valve that shot a couple hundred gallons of acidulated seawater into every operating condenser. Actually drove steam generator pH to, IIRC, ~4. Best and worst three days of my career. Yeah, there was the 36 hours of little sleep (the division set up a rotation so that people could get some sleep pretty quickly), but at the same time we could throw away all of our procedures and actually THINK our way through the problem.

                The biggest problem with collective punishment is that it breaks down unit cohesion. The idea is to turn peers into enforcers, but low level servicemen don’t have the training or the moral authority to be effective enforcers. They’ll tend to overreact while the subject of the enforcement is going to resent being picked on by people no better than he.

                There is a reason officers and senior NCO’s are paid much more and have separate housing and messing facilities. It’s THEIR job to enforce the rules, and the physical and social separation provides the emotional distance necessary for that enforcement. That’s also why fraternization is such a serious offense.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Did you make sure Pvt. Delinquent made it on time for the *next* muster?

          • I didn’t have to, which was the point of the exercise. Suitable reinforcement was provided by his peers.

            Military leadership often consists of an ever-increasing process of finding yourself doing the things you swore you wouldn’t ever do, were you to find yourself “running things”. By the time you hit the required rank to be “running things”, you’ve stepped through the looking glass, and discovered that there are often damn good reasons for doing things the way you bemoaned when you were subordinate. And, the corollary, which is that if you don’t do things that way, disaster almost inevitably ensues…

            Key observational takeaway after 25 years in the Army? Time makes hypocrites of us all…

            • William O. B'Livion

              > I didn’t have to, which was the point of the exercise.
              > Suitable reinforcement was provided by his peers.

              I know. That was my point.

              My father’s unit (1950s) had a kid who’d never learned to bath regularly.

              A scrub brush and a bottle of alcohol taught him hygiene.

              • Nowadays, that level of peer pressure would get the unit leadership court-martialed as soon as he reported it.

                • This is why you don’t report it.

                  No, seriously, it is a volunteer force, you shouldn’t have volunteered if you didn’t want to be there. That, at least is what the collective will think, and if you do manage to get the leadership court-martialed out of spite (or cause the collective to believe so) the collective is more likely to absorb the lesson that the punishment was too mild and didn’t have the desired effect, and must be reinforced much more harshly, than to believe that such punishment is wrong.

            • The real problem is when you run into someone who’s enough of a jackass that subtle peer pressure won’t work, and enough of a barracks lawyer that blatant peer pressure will get the rest of the unit in trouble. I’ve run into those a couple of times in my acquaintanceship with things military both persona; relationship and contractor related.

              Closest fictional example is SSgt Driscoll from Vorpal Blade: “a totally efficient son-of-a-bitch who can’t get past the son-of-a-bitch part.”

          • “Did you or did you not order the code red?”

          • What am I going to do, drive by his house and wake him up?

            • If you can’t find a more efficient way of making sure he “remembers” to set his alarm… yes.

              But then it is obvious that you are going to take offense at any suggestion of Kirk’s that in a military setting you are responsible for the other members of your units actions; because they affect the actions of the unit as a whole.

              What it boils down to is in many group dynamic settings, you (collective you) need to police your own, otherwise you (collective) will be blamed/held responsible for actions of individuals amongst you. I believe Kirk is right, and unlike many situations in a military setting, this is justified.

              • Kirk and Jeff are both describing military cultures.There are a lot of very different ones incorporated into the US armed forces, which is a feature and not a bug. The problem comes when one expects a certain culture but receives leadership from another, because people may genuinely not know the expected response. Explication is therefore often included in disciplinary talks. (“I don’t care if you have to set seven alarms or have someone drive to your house….”)

                Clearly Jeff did not receive this explanation, and that was a problem.

              • I just wonder what you expect a peer group to do that the leadership, armed with moral authority and the goram UCMJ, cannot do.

                Punish a group for the failings of a few is just going to encourage the rest of the group to screw off. They’re going to get punished regardless, might as well get some enjoyment in first.

                • I expect them to beat the holy living hell out of the person responsible for their punishment, if that is what it takes to get the point across.

                  Sorry, I haven’t had time to come back and check on responses until now. But to put it bluntly, “shape up or ship out” should be enforced by your peers, up to and including, the shipping out being on a gurney or in a body bag, if necessary. Unit cohesion is too important when the fecal matter hits the rotary impeller to tolerate slackers. This sort of cohesion CANNOT be built on individual responsibility built solely from above.

                  Suburban banshee; my word choice was poor, I was attempting to convey that I thought collective punishment was appropriate in a military setting, but very rarely in a civilian one.

            • It might mean telling him, come midnight* the evening before, that he’s had enough to drink and we have to be at muster early on time ON TIME tomorrow.

              Because the key to unit survival is likely to be unit cohesion, the primary purpose of most training is building that esprit.

              *Or nine o’clock, or six, as appropriate.

              • Which might be an option if I were in MM3 Schmuckatelli’s social group. But if I’m not, punishing me isn’t going to do anything to help the situation, since by midnight I’m fast asleep because I have to get up for work in the morning.

                Ever since my first deployment I’ve maintained that the Navy could drasitically cut the rate of liberty incidents overseas just by setting liberty expiration times to that of the senior-most person in the group instead of the juinor-most. It would encourage young, inexperienced sailors to seek out older, wiser, and more knowledgable sailors that could guide things away from trouble. But that’s a special circumstance, and punishing an entire division or ship for liberty incidents is only going to breed resentment for the chain of command and unit breakdown.

                • It would encourage young, inexperienced sailors to seek out older, wiser, and more knowledgable sailors that could guide things away from trouble. But that’s a special circumstance, and punishing an entire division or ship for liberty incidents is only going to breed resentment for the chain of command and unit breakdown.

                  And that’s before you get to the shifting of punishment/guilt.

                  We had a chief and an officer beat up a cabby. They pulled liberty for E-5 and below….

              • At which point he picks a response somewhere between “flips you off” and “tackles you and starts punching, while screaming obscenities.”

            • You never got tasked with doing that? Complete with having no recourse when they told you to f-off and blew off muster anyways?

              Lucky.

              • Nope. If a guy doesn’t want to come in to work one day, we would call around to try and find him, mark him UA, and he would get punished. Not the 35 people who don’t even know where the guy lives.

        • *twitch* Show up 30 minutes early for the 1 hour prior inspection for the 30 minutes later meeting the officer will show up 45 minutes later for, if you’re lucky, to give a 30 minute speech that was shorter on youtube…..

          • What I loved was when you spent weeks doing prep for some high-ranker to show up, culminating in a 72-hour prior prep that was nightmarish… Only to have the fucking prick do a drive-by, and not even bother to stop and take a look at your hard work.

            When I was a mid-ranks kinda guy, I thought “…gotta be those assholes at brigade, just getting spun up over nothing… General So-and-so was never on the schedule to stop here, and take a look, anyway…”.

            Then I got a job on Brigade staff. Turns out, the schedules almost always had the jackass set to do a real walk-through, but they never bothered to show up for them, consistently. Left the intermediate leadership in a rough spot–If they didn’t do the prep, and he actually showed…? Disaster. Or, do the prep, and suffer the blow to morale from the troops never seeing results, while taking the blame for unnecessary work? That was the lesser of evils, so that was the choice made.

            Something really negative happened during the 1990s, with the general officer ranks. Back when we were still trying to rebuild the Army from the situation it was in during the 1970s, those guys always were around, out in the weeds, checking things personally. Circa 1986, when I was in the 9th ID, it was actually more likely to run into the 1-star that was the Division G-3 or the other guy that was up there (can’t remember if it was deputy chief of staff, or some other title) out doing training than it was to see your own LTC.

            After that period, though? Starting with the immediate post-Desert Storm period, the ethos changed, and you never, ever saw men of that rank out in the field on a routine basis. Predictably, the result was a clear reduction in the quality of training, ‘cos the only things wot gets done is da stuff da boss actually checks…

            • Out of curiosity, do you recall who was president and who controlled the Senate (where, IIRC, awarding of stars is decided) in that period post-Desert Storm?

              • Yep. And, I don’t think it was at all accidental, but I’m a little confused by the mechanism–I don’t think Clinton really cared enough to know the officers he promoted, and the lag between his selections actually taking over…?

                I think it was more a cultural thing, than anything else: The Army lost a lot of its sense of purpose, after the Wall came down. A lot of good men looked at the situation, said to themselves “Peacetime is gonna suck… Lemme get out and find a real job…”. The post-Desert Storm drawdown saw the exact men we needed to keep self-select to get out, and the remaining human material wasn’t exactly impressive. Saw some of those same high-quality guys come back in, after 9/11, however. Which contributed to a lot of our success…

                • Waaaaaayyyyyyy back when, in High School (late 60s — so book would have been written about 20 years after the war’s end) I was reading a history of WWII I, recall a quote from one general (whose name I can no longer recall and whose quote I can not find on the web) who explained his recall into the service in terms of “When the [feces hits the vertical impeller] is when they want us sons of [female dog]s.” … although it might have been more along the lines of “They have no use for us sons of [female dog]s until the [feces hits the vertical impeller].”

                  At any rate, the meaning was quote clear: the qualities required for success on a battlefield are not the same ones that earn promotion in a peacetime force.

    • “Group punishment makes sense when and only when the group exerts an extremely high degree of control over its individual members.”
      So Democrats count then?

      • So Democrats count then?

        Not very well. When they count our votes they add 2 + 2 to get 3; when they count their votes they add 2 + 2 to get 22.

        Oh – you meant for group punishment? If you punish them in the only way they really feel: at the polls.

  2. “Logic is a little bird tweeting in tree”; Progressives do not think, they ‘feel’. If they ‘feel’ good by tweeting that they want to kill a Dentist because he shot a Lion, well that is all the ‘justification’ they need.
    Don’t dare suggest that all the dead blacks in Chicago over the weekend matter more than Cecil the Lion, or that big game hunting brings money to Africa to promote conservation. Both of those things require thinking and a value comparison between human and feline worth. It is just better to ‘feel’ good, and don’t look too closely at your underlying justifications (which would make Hitler proud).

    • Humans are not, as a a species, rational, particularly in our fears. More people die annually from swimming pools than guns yet where are the demands for swimming pool control?*

      Some things people fear more irrationally than others, which is one of the things I most fear about other people. Much of contemporary Liberal~Progressivism is a post hoc effort to justify intuited fears hiked up to irrational levels. That is why the effort to brand micro-aggressions and to define all males as potential threats to women: it is to rational discomfort what the claims of the Nazis were to the German’s sense of loss of place in a threatening world.

      *Shouldn’t all swimming pools be required to employ at all times a licensed certified lifeguard? Shouldn’t you have to pass a federal background check before being allowed to install a swimming pool, so that the public can be confident you are a competent swimmer and are not the kind of nut who might go drowning people in that pool? If it saves just one child from drowning, isn’t it worth it? I know, I know: when swimming pools are outlawed, only outlaws will have swimming pools.

      • The same applies to automobiles, and we can’t even get all the drivers licensed and insured, even though both are a requirement.

        • That’s because the Right-Wing extremists who have seized control of the Republican Party are, being racist, blocking immigration reform.

          Pretty much the Democrat talking points on everything, isn’t it? Why can’t we have chocolate milk at breakfast? Because racist Right-Wing extremists in the GOP will only accept white milk.

      • …uh, yes. Lots of places require special permits, fencing to meet city codes, and place the liability on the homeowner even if someone cuts the fence to get in and drown. Meanwhile, the crazier elements want swimming pools banned outright.

        It’s a periodic thing in Arizona, anyway.

        • I’m a little surprised about Arizona, but it’s a part of New York issues as well. While I was living there, they passed a law requiring even kiddie pools to have alarms if something fell in. Such alarms could go off if a dog jumped into the pool, or even if there’s a strong wind.

          • “I’m a little surprised about Arizona”

            I’m not, this is the state that reliably elects McCain as their ‘conservative.’ And elected Gabby Gifford. Even their governor that Obama painted as a hard line Nazi, racist, extremist for wanting to enforce federal law; would be considered left of center in many parts of the country. She just happened to have a backbone, which is so rare in the Republican party that by showing it, she earned the respect of a whole lot of us, who wouldn’t have been particularly enamored with her stances on a lot of subjects.

        • RealityObserver

          Some of that is water usage, too, TRX. (Although, if they can and will pay for it, none of my business IMHO.)

          I told the wife many years ago when we moved into this house that even if we had the room, no way nohow would we ever put in a pool. You have to chlorinate the hell out of it in the warmer months, you still have to heat it in the winter months, and our frequent not overly predictable windstorms dump huge amounts of dust and trash into them before you can get them covered. Or worse – last year, my one neighbor who does have a pool ended up with half the roof belonging to the woman across the street in his pool. Before he could get it out, the fiberglass began coming off of it – several thousand dollars for a new pump and filter. All I had to do was pick up the pieces that landed in my yards, and try to revive a pretty well crushed iris bed.

        • William O. B'Livion

          > It’s a periodic thing in Arizona, anyway.

          Do they want pools banned because they’re dangerous, or because it’s just a bad idea to keep an outdoor pool filled with water in a desert?

          • There was a backlash against pools in Hollywood late in the last Polio epidemic. I read the first few chapters of Mia Farrow’s autobiography once, thinking she might give some information on what it was like to have Polio, as I was writing a story about that period. (I was right, I have weird intuitions like that. I can recommend those first few chapters for that reason.) No one had any idea how the disease was spread, and when she came back from the hospital, the pool was filled in and the family dog was gone. Just gone, everyone changed the subject when she asked.

      • Pertinent quote: “Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.” – RAH

  3. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Blood tox says that Brown and Martin had THC in their systems. Media wouldn’t tolerate the idea that this could have played a role in them making unfortunate choices. Autopsy shows that Gray’s injury was essentially self inflicted, meaning that government shepherding of the riots was more or less bullshit.

    Germans had relatives in the Ukraine that they corresponded with. (We apparently have letters Germans sent from the Ukraine to the US in a University in the Dakotas.) The leftists had tried to make a Soviet Socialist Republic, which wasn’t viable, in Bavaria. Any German with sense would have known they were next on the butcher’s block. It was not wrong for them to fear the communists, it was wrong for them to pick an incompetent pointless madman to choose what to do.

    • Fearing the iPhone of totalitarian collectivism, they elected the Android version of the same 😉
      Incidentally, in the 1932 elections, the six leading parties were in that order:
      1. NSDAP: the National Socialists/Nazis
      2. SPD: the Social Democrats (which by US standards were basically socialists)
      3. KPD: the Communists
      4. Zentrum: the Catholic Center party
      5. DNVP: a non-Nazi hard nationalist party that later would be forced to merge into the NSDAP
      6. the Bavarian sister party of the Zentrum

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        For that matter, the German “Powers That Be” feared the Communists and *thought* that they could control Hitler.

        • Yes, the “drive the devil out with Beelzebub” theory, as H. B. Gisevius calls it in “To the bitter end” (his somewhat sensationalist and self-serving, but very readable, inside account of his time in the German resistance)

    • It was not wrong for them to fear the communists, it was wrong for them to pick an incompetent pointless madman to choose what to do.

      So, not supporting Trump or Sanders, then?

      The problem with a panicked People is that they almost invariably choose the wrong solutions. Asimov’s Foundation is a puppet show; the more common result is a Bonaparte, a Santa Anna, a Lenin, a Mussolini, a Hitler. Rare indeed is the Cincinnatus, the George Washington (and in his presidency there was wide-spread belief he had imperial notions.)

      That being the case, there is a certain incentive for a certain kind of person to try to panic the People. It is hard to herd cats, but for a short time they can be spooked well enough to all run in the same direction.

      • Never let a good crisis go to waste?

      • Why go for the lesser evil? Vote Cthulhu/Nyarlathotep in 2016!

      • If I ever write an alt-history-sci-fi it will be the one where an alien observer accidentally gets George Washington killed at a very young age and has to take over his role because reasons.

        • I occasionally visit an alternate history forum. One recurring topic is, “what if you could go back in time and kill Hitler?”

          I always thought that question said a lot about the person who was asking it. Answer was, “why not slip the headmaster of the art school who dismissed young Adolf’s talent and slip him a few marks to accept the kid into art school? Or move up into his early adulthood when he was schlepping a wheelbarrow on a labor crew, slip someone a few marks to promote him to foreman, and pay one of the hookers at the beerhall to be nice to him?

          Either way his life would have been greatly changed and he wouldn’t likely have wound up in radical politics.

          No, they want to murder an innocent kid or a lonely young man who never hurt anyone in his life. If they want revenge instead of prevention, they could move forward a couple of decades, say to the Beer Hall Putsch, where he was firmly on the path to the dark side, and… oh, maybe recurring kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome, or some other ailment that would prevent him from maintain control of the party.

          But no, they’re fixated on murder.

          • That is rather easily explained: to do what you suggest requires a degree of proficiency in German, and most people are more fluent in Mauser.

            • It’s ALWAYS more fun to run around the mountains with an AK-47, metaphorically speaking.

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                Yes . . . metaphor . . . (adds notation to government watchlist)

              • Easier than learning German, too, either Hoch-Deutsch oder Platt-Deutsch.

              • William O. B'Livion

                Well, at least to people who’ve never had to wander around in the wilderness in all sorts of weather carrying those sorts of tools.

                A weekend of camping is all good fun. A month of living in a tent in Wisconsin in the winter, not as fun.

                But to directly answer TRX, what it says about those people is that either they (a) lack imagination or (b) want revenge in retrospect.

                Short story idea: Imagine an alt-history where Hitler DID NOT commit suicide, but was captured alive in his bunker, gets tried at the Nuremberg Tribunal and his lawyer presents the case IN COURT that The Jews Deserved It etc., and becomes a martyr to the cause (even more so). And then someone invents time travel to go back and kill him, but for some reason can only get to the closing days of WWII and decides to kill him in his bunker and make it look like suicide.

                • One of the Dirty Dozen TV movie sequels had the team trying to prevent Hitler’s assassination late in the war, because someone sensible talented and not insane might take charge of the German military.

                  • This is based on a true event.
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Foxley
                    An assassination plan by the British SOE was opposed on the grounds that at this point AH was more useful to the Allied war effort alive than dead. Classic example of “never interrupt your enemy when he’s digging himself into a hole”. A similar calculus almost certainly contributed to the lack of enthusiasm for supporting the July 20 plotters.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Or “evil in his genes” or “born evil”.

            Harry Turtledove has an alternate-history book out called “Joe Steel”.

            Basically the set-up is that Stalin’s parents come to America before Stalin is born.

            So Joseph Stalin tries to do unto America what he did to Russia.

            I haven’t read it (and won’t) but the basic flaw is “of course he’ll be as evil in this time line as he was in our time line”.

            • There are people who deliberately and willfully decide to be evil, knowing it is evil. I have met a handful. They are creepy as all get out. Would such a person, having already looked evil in the face and decided that was what they want have chosen differently simply because they were elsewhere? Perhaps a few yes, from the ones I’ve seen, I have a hard time believing they would not chose that path. They might do something else with it in the new ‘timeline,’ but the path of evil they would still choose.

              Was Stalin such a man? I am inclined to say yes but I do not know enough to say for certain.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                I hear you but I still dislike the idea that somebody was “born evil”. I believe that humans chose to take the evil path or the good path. Circumstances in their lives may make it easier to chose one of those paths, but they still chose.

                Mind you, the Turtledove story bothers me because while “Joe Steele” might have been born evil, I doubt that he’d be as able to get as far in the US as Joseph Stalin was able to do in Russia. Of course, “Uncle Joe” built on what Lenin started.

                • Very much. And Lenin was as nasty as Stalin. He just had less time and a less secure position from which to prove it.

                  The Russians don’t seem to do things by halves.

                  • Lenin signed more death warrents in six months than the Tsar had signed in the preceedng six years.

                  • Leon Trotsky would agree with that, were he able to. I saw a one-act play called “The Death of Leon Trotsky”, with 5 or 6 iterations starting with him writing at a table and an ice axe stuck in his head and finally realizing he’s supposed to be dead.

                • Psychopaths are “born evil” enough for practical purposes.

                • There’s also the way that, if “Joe’s” family were the sort to come to America, and on top of that he was raised an American, he’d be working from a different foundation.

                • I also dislike the idea that some people are born evil. But I’ve been around long enough to see people I’ve identified at 3 years of age as being bad apples grow up to be horrible people. And families with many children where one random one in the middle turns out to be no good with the rest being perfectly good people to be around. Born evil seems to be the Occam’s Razor choice as to how this happens.

              • He may have been equally evil in both timelines but have less opportunity in one of the two… You need motive, method, and opportunity…
                Will have to read the book though.

            • Ah, free will, and the complications thereof.

              I hate, hate, HATE the multi-worlds stories where decisions you make split worlds. It means that you never choose right; you only got lucky in which time line you landed in.

              But I was playing with the idea of a real multiworlds from quantum — it’s not decisions but quantum events that trigger it — but every world has exact copies. Some people are Stable and will make the same choices in the same situation — others are Fickle and will vary wildly.

          • You know, an extended Time-Police campaign to keep younger Adolph from being offed to ‘preserve the timeline’ is a pretty good explanation for all the near misses during WWI and the many many close escapes from assassination that contributed to his belief that Destiny Was Preserving Him For His Role In The Future.

            • Remember that involuntary eugenic sterilization was the wave of the future, and those benighted conservatives sticking to their outdated Declaration of Independence were evil for opposing it — why, they preferred sick babies to healthy ones.

              There was some rapid backtracking during WWII. For instance, the American Birth Control Society renamed itself Planned Parenthood and dropped “eugenic” from its charter.

            • WWII history is one of my hobbies. It was a huge war – a world war, after all – so there’s a certain amount of luck and WTF to be expected. But when you look at how *many* times someone pulled a rabbit out of their hat, or something inexplicable occurred, it’s enough to make you wonder about time travelers, aliens, divine intervention, or *something* passing out loaded dice.

              • Actually, that’s why serious war games still have dice throws. There will be pure, spectacular chance. There will be the U.S. Navy at Midway discovering the Japanese carriers before the Japanese discovered ours, that the U.S. torpedo planes with their nearly useless torpedoes (like the boots of the fresh troops in the Bulge, Roosevelt crony capitalism picking FDR buddies who couldn’t do the job) arrived before the U.S. dive bombers (I think the Japanese still believe it was planned, it just worked too perfectly, the Zeros were at water level awaiting more torpedoes when the dive bombers came out of the sun.) The Japanese wargamed WWII before Pearl Harbor and they lost no matter what plans they used. So Tojo and the big admirals ordered them to change-the-values-of-dice, they just cheated so Japan would win. On the board.

                The coming Viet Nam War was boardgamed in about 1962, and Kennedy was told we would lose no matter how many Vietnamese Communists we killed. They would invade the South again and again until the dice went their way. Kennedy got us into it anyway.

                • Where’d you get the thing about the boots?

                  • Infantry soldier: holding the lines at the battle of the bulge, Neil. Just a quick look on Google brought up a passage, but I can’t give you the Amazon exerpt. The quality of boots seems to have been mixed, and individual soldiers were blamed for the about 15k cases of trenchfoot and foot frostbite during the battle of the Bulge. Granted the weather was hideous, and there are references to Germans taking American casualty’s boots. But the torpedoes were undeniable, U.S. torpedoes were very poor, and I’ve often read the boots given as another example of poor equipment

                    • Well, it’s just in every non-fiction, novel and movie I’ve seen about the BotB. There was a huge number of trench foot and foot frostbite, the soldiers blamed the boots and the government and big officers blamed the soldiers. Ground pounders were actually threatened with courts martial if they got trench foot.

                    • The reality was that the issue was a little from column “A”, and a little from column “B”…

                      Some of the boots were poorly designed, for cold weather. But, they were supposed to be replaced by what amounted to military copies of the L.L. Bean Maine Hunting Shoe, the ones with the rubber lowers, leather uppers, and wool felt inserts. Due to issues with the supply system, the Army had problems getting these to the combat troops actually at the front lines–The boots that got in-theater wound up on the feet of Service of Supply troops in France and the UK, while the front-line grunts had to wear the same boots they’d fought in back in June. Supply discipline has been a perennial problem, probably going back to the Romans–And, we still have it. Witness the numbers of supply-line POGs who were in full chocolate-chips while the front-line guys in Desert Storm were still wearing woodland camo for Europe, deep in Iraq and Kuwait.

                      In WWII, there was also a certain lack of junior leadership culture. I’ve spoken to guys who were in units that had high levels of trench foot, and they all reported a certain lack of emphasis on the problem’s prevention. I was shocked to hear that junior leaders in some of those units weren’t expected to check feet, and held responsible for their men doing the things that needed to be done for prevention. There was also a strong element going on of “No tools to do this, because supply isn’t getting us the dry replacement socks or winter boots we need…”. I know one guy I talked to hadn’t seen replacement socks or underwear in his unit from the time he crossed the beach in Normandy until right before he was demobilized to go home. They were getting everything they got by raiding the possessions of casualties, and stealing from the laundry and bath units when they got the opportunity to make use of those.

                      My generation of NCO had digested that in culture and ethos, and we were positively anal about checking feet in cold weather. That was, however, long after the lesson was learned in WWII, and reinforced in Korea.

                • “that the U.S. torpedo planes with their nearly useless torpedoes (like the boots of the fresh troops in the Bulge, Roosevelt crony capitalism picking FDR buddies who couldn’t do the job) ”

                  There’s a history of the US sub service in WWII, Silent Victory, that has a lot of background. One of the most infuriating sections described the US sub torpedo debacle. Basically, the Newport RI torpedo station / factory is a story of government contracting malfeasance that rivals ANYTHING seen since. When it opened in 1910, it became the apple of the RI Congressman / Senators’ eyes, and it was a mess: a minimum of 2 years behind on production, no actual live testing, etc.

                  While he doesn’t get into aerial torpedoes except to say they had all the sub torpedo defects, plus more of their own, he describes how it took 14 months of field testing to fix the three major defects: torpedoes ran an average of 11 feet deeper than set, the magnetic exploder was totally defective, and the contact exploder was so fragile that a square hit on a ship would crush it so it wouldn’t function. In fact, once they started figuring it out, actual instructions were sent to try for “glancing impacts”….Someone should have been hung. In fact, Admiral Lockwood is said to have given a speech at the Navy Dinner during this time where he said “If BuOrd can’t give us torpedoes that will explode, then for God’s sake have BuShips design us a boat hook to rip the plates of the target’s side!”

                • Two things about Midway. The American has cracked JP13 and knew that Nagumo was coming and where, more or less. The IJN did not expect American carriers to be out when they were because The US had thwarted a recon from the French frigate shoals on Hawaii, but apparently no message of that fact got to Nagumo. And the Kiddo Butai was very busy that morning and was short two carriers which meant that none of the IJN carriers could launch a strike. They were too busy recovering or launching the combat air patrol all moring after the Midway strike was recovered because of all those strikes that came one right after another. There was also the fact that the IJN had never enacted effective damage control for their carriers because they hadn’t suffered significant hits, while the loss of Lexington and the damage to Yorktown had caused the USN to implement measures to limit flight and hanger deck fires. The IJN Akagi was destroyed with ONE bomb hit. The Yorktown suffered three attack and was only later sunk by a submarine. See “Shattered Sword”

                  • Re DC on the IJN carriers – their Damage Control was terrible, but the IJN had not even come up with basic safety procedures, which being so heavily influenced by the Royal Navy you would think they would have got from the Brits.

                    An example: As a standard procedure the USN drained aviation fuel from the lines used to refuel planes and filled them with nonflammable gas (I think they used Carbon Monoxide exhaust from the main engines) when they went to battle stations. No such procedure was in place in the IJN. And then there’s the “leave bombs stacked all over the flight deck while rearming (again) a strike package” craziness.

                    I have to wonder whether things like safety procedures and damage control were seen as somehow defeatist or beneath notice of true warriors in the IJN’s bushido-revival culture.

                    • Shattered Sword goes into that in great detail. The filling of the fuel lines with CO2 was due to the Yorktown doing that at Coral Sea. IJN carriers bought the worst of both worlds. They had thin wooden flight decks and enclosed hanger decks, with, as you said all that ordnance spread around as IJN carriers rearmed on the hanger deck, not the flight deck. I don’t know when the USN started rearming on the flight deck, but US carrier have open hanger decks which means ordnance can be kicked over the side and out of harms way.

            • There is a little online time travel story somewhere which is basically an online message-board for time travelers. The ‘Welcome!’ board is filled with messages like, “Hi! Just made my time machine using the Swensen method! I’m off to kill Hitler!!” And the reply, “Jeez, can’t you people read the sticky note!! I got the guy as child, he won’t make his time machine.” Over and over in different variations.

              The sticky note that you’re supposed to read at the top of the time traveler’s message board is, “You can’t kill Hitler because no Hitler means no Enigma device which means no Bletchley Park, no Alan Turing, no development of the electronic computer, and therefore no time travel. So don’t do it!!”

          • Until he flunked out of art school– or graduated, still couldn’t get work, and founded Occupy Whatever.

            Or he failed his unearned position on the labor crew, and found out the girl he liked didn’t really like him, and now hookers are just added to the list of “unfits” that he purifies.

            Something like… introduce him to a really good guy, who’d genuinely be his friend, might work.

            The “go back and shoot Hitler before he does evil” thing is just a less subtle version of trying to forcibly prevent his choices by improving his material situation– they both assume a mechanical format of human response. It’s got some accuracy– a guy with a hole the size of a baseball through his head won’t be ordering any executions, and it’s possible he was more tempted to his future actions because he was disappointed to not be in art school, or because leading a political hit-squad made him feel successful and loved.

            It’s easier to think of him as a monster. Then he’s not a danger that might lurk in us.
            And the idea of him lurking in us is far, far more terrifying if you believe in group punishment, in this case punishing those who are able to do a horrible thing.

          • I read a short story a number of years ago (long enough that I don’t recall the author or title) in which a time traveler goes back to kill Hitler. When he gets to the year where he’d going to kill Hitler, there’s a sign THIS WAY TO KILL HITLER, a velvet rope, and a line. I’ve never gotten that image out of my head.

            • OK, I’ll ask again: many of us remember the story in which JFK kills JFK and is beaten to death in a bar, but no one remembers the title or author or where published.

            • There’s an interesting one I read which starts out as a guy in the Middle East with a sniper rifle, planning to shoot a guy to avert the terrible disaster that guy is responsible for….And then it skips around to all the other times. Started out killing Hitler, but then something even worse happened, so he had to go further back. And then further than that. And then further than that. And now he’s in Roman times…

          • Sounds like my theory on the Norwegian mass shooting–if Anders Behring Brievik had just gotten a girlfriend, we could have avoided this.

            • Mmm, I don’t think so in that particular case. His reason for shooting was not, as far as I can tell, an emotionally-based lashing out like, say, most mass shooters in the United States. In his case, it was based on his political philosophy: he was perfectly sane and in his right mind, and made a rational decision to kill those people because, in his view, it would lead to a better outcome for his country.

              Note for anyone who might later read this while logic-impaired: I do NOT condone or agree with what he did. I’m just explaining his reasons as he saw them, and that he reached an abhorrent conclusion from perfectly logical reasons. (With at least one false premise in there, like “It’s okay to shoot kids based on the ‘nits make lice’ idea.” No. No, it’s not.)

              • Everything I read about him and his history just cries out Cluster B personality disorders (narcissistic, histrionic, borderline,…)

              • I read through his manifesto–well, parts of it, anyway, I really didn’t want to read hundreds of pages of political agitprop–but it seemed like the beginning of his journey into political radicalization was “Nice Norwegian girls aren’t dating nice Norwegian boys like me, they’re dating abusive immigrant boys.” The degree to which any of those characterizations are true is open for debate, but that seemed to be how he saw it.
                The rest of it was rolling forward from there.

    • And they went with a madman who was socialist, so basically Soviet-lite. Really it was arguing if the left or right side of a skunk smelled better/worse.

    • Yeah… but given how the FBI and the State of Massachussetts have been caught falsifying crime lab results, I’m not inclined to trust that kind of information as much as I did before.

  4. A few comments:
    (a) Thomas Sowell’s “The quest for cosmic justice” is an absolute must-read in this context. It shows how temporal justice in the here and now and “cosmic”/”social”/intertemporal justice are fundamentally at odds.
    (b) About lies with a kernel of truth:
    “That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies;
    That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright—
    But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.” (Alfred Tennyson, “The Grandmother”, stanza 8)
    (c) Had the Nazis (G-d forbid) won the war, the Shoah and other mass murders by the Nazis (y”sh) would actually only have been the first phase of something that would have dwarfed it. Google “Generalplan Ost”. Effectively, the idea was to turn most of Eastern Europe into a vast “Lebensraum” for the so-called Herrenvolk and to cull the native population down to a small breeding stock of slaves.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost

  5. c4c

  6. There’s a question I ask sometimes as a thought experiment. If at the end of WWII the Allies had combed the occupied population, found everyone with the double Siegrune tattoo and shot them, would they have gone morally far wrong?
    Americans overwhelmingly answer that one must consider every individual on a case-by-case basis. Older Europeans I’ve known just say, “No.”
    Punishment for an accident of birth is wrong – but one must choose to join an organization dedicated to evil pursuits such as the SS.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      How much of the view of the SS as “an organization dedicated to evil pursuits” is an “after the fact point of view”?

      Would individuals joining the SS necessarily know that it was “dedicated to evil pursuits”?

      Sorry, but it’s much better to judge people who were part of the SS as individuals.

    • My first German teacher in College (Fraulein Bauhaus) was a member of the Hitler Youth as a young madchen. Her implication was that association was inescapable at the time. I would not have considered it justice to have eliminated her at the end of WWII, even though she failed me 🙂

      • The Pope Emeritus was in Hitler Youth as a teen– after his family had moved several times and his father had taken extreme fiscal harm. No join, no live, eventually.

        My grandfather was a prison guard on the Nazi prisoners after the war. Same thing. You joined or you died– some managed to go AWOL without harming the “enemy,” but not always an option. Yeah, some were probably evil, and they were fighting for an evil cause– so you kill them, if you must.

        If you don’t have to, though….

        • Point of order: he was not in the Hitler Youth and he never attended a meeting, but a teacher signed him up unilaterally because they had to have 100% membership at the school by that point. Young Ratzinger tried to resign when he found out, but the teacher said that he the teacher would be punished. So he only resigned unofficially, just like he never really signed up in the first place.

          • Paper membership is a membership, even if it’s one that makes it obvious the “member” isn’t aligned with the organization in any meaningful way, if at all.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              True, but things like this are worrisome when somebody gets into “purge anybody associated with “those” people” mode. [Frown]

              • I was contemplating the irony of this argument being put forth by a member of a culture which [insert typical coterie of Proglodyte shibboleths, including but not limited to: slavery, treatment of Amerindian peoples (ethnic cleansing, internment camps) stealing Texas etc. from Mexico].

      • I bet she would claim that you failed her.

      • Yes, but we’re not talking about Hitler Youth or even the Nazi Party (read They Thought They Were Free for a good look at that), but the SS.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          True, but please show how people joining the SS would have known that they were joining an evil organization. [Polite Smile]

          • I translated a yearbook for a museum. The book was an album for a German police auxiliary graduating class back in 1940 or 41 (it’s been a while). Lots of pictures of guys doing PT, or in classrooms, or rounding up stray livestock. The curator was concerned about the SS uniforms in a few of the photos (standing off to the sides) until I pointed out that the SS had taken over administration of the police department (according to the yearbook), so the album-owner’s grandfather wasn’t necessarily a hard-core SS member.

          • Oh, I don’t know… Maybe they could have read the fucking literature the SS put out? Seen the SS and SA abusing old Jewesses in the street, before, during and after the Kristalnacht? Perhaps, paid the slightest bit of attention to what was going on around them?

            I’m pretty sure you’re being sarcastic, here, but I see this attitude displayed by people waaaaaay too often. It’s like they have to have some huge moral crime committed before them, before they bear any onus at all for participating in organizations perpetrating the crimes. Read the books, friends, before you join to get the pretty uniforms. That way, when I kill you for being a card-carrying member of the SS, it won’t feel so bad. Or, something…

            • But that literature and those abuses weren’t limited to the SS. It was a prevalent part of German culture at the time. Looking at those things would simply inform you that the SS was a German organization, which, duh. So how would a hypothetical good German youth – one who bears no particular animus to Jews or any other group, but is patriotic and wishes to serve his country – to know with the degree of certainty that justifies summary execution that the SS is sufficiently horrific that membership should be avoided?

              In other words, you cannot point to the evils commited by the SS as justifying extermination of the group and all its members without calling for a similar sanction against the entire German people.

              • “In other words, you cannot point to the evils commited by the SS as justifying extermination of the group and all its members without calling for a similar sanction against the entire German people.”

                I’d have been good with that.

                You really, really need to do some more reading about just what the “entire German people” knew and actually believed. The SS didn’t spring forth from some Nazi vacuum, they were an expression of the thinking of a whole lot of people in German society. Mistaking what was being done in terms of confiscation and humiliation of German Jewry, while simultaneously lapping up the confiscated luxuries? Yeah… I’m not buying off on this whole “innocent average German” thing, at all. The evidence was clearly before them, just like the odor from the concentration camps later was. Germany was first an internally criminal nation, and then an external one. They all knew that those luxury items sent home by their men in uniform from the Netherlands and France weren’t exactly bought on the open market, and if you go reading through the source material, you can find time after time where the soldier in question was quite emphatically clear on where and how he’d gotten the foodstuffs and luxury items he sent home–And, letters back asking for more of the same. It was all quite disgustingly petty.

                Frankly, I feel as at least one German who lived through that period did, and relayed to me: “I wouldn’t blame the world a bit, if they’d killed all of us in return… We deserved it.”.

                You really have no idea, based on the popular histories, what a bunch of petty criminals the Nazis were. For the love of God, nine-tenths of that stuff that was in the warehouses at the various death camps, gleaned from the dead? They had no FUCKING idea what they were going to do with it, they just took it, adding insult to injury. The German industrial machine couldn’t even take up all that human hair, or most of the rest of the stuff they stockpiled. They had to set up industrial test facilities to see if they could experiment and come up with useful products, which is where that supposed legend about the soap comes from. It was never a “real thing” in terms of actual production, but testing was performed, and there are real examples of the soap produced as proof.

                Frankly, I think we would have been justified in starting the death camps up again, and feeding every still-living member of the Nazi party through them. There may have been one or two true “innocents” for every hundred or so beneficiaries of the Party we did that to, but I think that would have been an acceptable price to pay in order to make the example necessary. It’s truly unfortunate that their co-criminals, the Communists, made it so damn easy and somewhat necessary for the rest of us to bow to expediency and not make the example, which should have been one that would ring down the next few centuries. Because of that, we’re going to be dealing with wannabe genocides for the next few generations, until someone finally nuts up enough to put a stop to it with a truly horrible response. Or, we’re all going to be lined up to go to the camps ourselves, or perhaps, as modern genocidists would have it, out into the desert. They seem to be of a different stamp than the Nazis, whose members at least had the humanity left to develop forms of PTSD after their massacres. Not seeing too much evidence of that from ISIL, are we?

                • So you advocate for genocide. What, exactly, makes you different from Hitler?

                  • Party membership as the criterion doesn’t fall under the definition of genocide.

                    Of course, part of that is that the definition of genocide is dumb. Would it really make the Holomodor worse if they found the necessary letter indicating the Ukrainians were targeted racially instead of as kulaks and wreckers?

                    • R. J. Rummel (U. of Hawaii) coined the alternative term “democide” for mass killings on other-than-genetic grounds.

                    • It does when the laws are structured such that the only way a German could do pretty much anything of importance was by being a party member. In that case party membership collapses to “German,” and killing all the Germans fits pretty neatly into any definition of genocide you’d care to use.

                    • No, I have Rummel’s main book, democide includes genocide. Murder by government, not combat collateral damage. Democide is the government murdering people: concentration camps, bombing of civilians with explosives and gas, soldiers slaughtering civilians. He was trying his best to find democide committed by democracies, by defining the atomic bombings and mass bombings as democide, but the democratic totals are still microscopic compared to those of totalitarian states. And he points out that not one war in the 20th century was fought between democracies.

                  • Oh, I don’t know… Maybe I’m different because I would commit genocide only on those who take it up first, as a policy?

                    Don’t start none, won’t be none. And, if you do start, don’t expect it to end well.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              No, I am not being sarcastic.

              The SS has been “painted” as this evil organization which openly committed those evil actions.

              I’m suggesting that the average German was not aware of these evil things that *you* claim the SS was doing.

              I’m also saying that the average SS trooper and/or officer may not have done anything worthy of death.

              Of course, I wonder how many of us are “guilty” of the things that the Left says we are guilty of.

              • Y’know… I’ve done a lot of reading, over the years. I’ve talked to the veterans of that war, both Allies and Axis. And, the conclusion I’ve reached is that anyone who thinks that the “average German” didn’t know what was being done around them is absolutely full of as much willful denial (shortened, in my coarse vocabulary as “shit”) as they were.

                Where, precisely, does one draw the line? Is writing off to your son, the soldier who sent you the nice ham he stole from a farmer, along with that butter, from the creamery, and thanking him for that, while asking for more, an evidence of involvement? Does that make you a co-conspirator? How about taking that apartment, the one that belonged to the Jewish couple that bought and paid for it, before being hauled off to the concentration camp? How about taking over the husbands successful business? Are you an innocent, because you never pushed them into the gas chamber, yourself?

                The German Army had an expedited mail service, so as to allow men at the front to send home loot they’d picked up. I forget the exact weights, but they weren’t insignificant, something like 10kg a week or something. They did this so as to keep enthusiasm high on the home front, and made damn sure that the exchange rates were kept high between occupation scrip and the local currency. The German Army quite literally looted the conquered nations, in some very petty ways. And, the German people knew this was going on, and justified it in their heads because of Versailles.

                Think about that, for just a second: They institutionalized looting, and encouraged it, so as to keep civilian morale and “buy-in” maximized during the war. They wanted the public to feel like they were “getting something” out of the whole thing, and they set that up deliberately. A couple of Germans I know later remarked that those were some of the most expensive hams and lingerie they ever bought, because it cost them their sons and nice homes in Eastern Prussia. It is kind of funny that there are Germans of that generation who feel, absolutely, that they deserved what happened, and that “more” would have been justified. It’s especially funny to reflect on the fact that those were the Germans who were forced to walk West out of East Prussia in front of the Red Army, and who literally lost everything generations of their ancestors had built. Strange that they felt that way, don’t you think, after all that? They knew. Their sons told them, and they benefited from the conquests, at first. Not so much, later, but knowing also what their sons had seen done in the East, they weren’t so sure that they hadn’t brought it on themselves.

                You protest that they could not have known. They did know, they did see, and they obviously approved, because they let it happen and continue to happen, until the Allies brought the whole show down around their ears. At some point, willing acquiescence and continual willful blindness become co-conspiratorial, and most charitable interpretation of history would put the German people passing that point sometime early in the 1940s. That they were never fully brought to account is something we ought to consider quite shameful, on our parts. That lack of moral strictness is something our descendents will no doubt pay the price for.

                • Hitler’s Beneficiaries has a lot of the financial details. Export your war-time inflation to your conquests. . . .

                  One also notes that the slave labor was driven by a fear that too much pressure on German women to enter the war industries would recreate the home front problems.

                • My mother was German and lived through WW2. But of course she also lived through their hyper inflation in the late 20’s. She also lived through having an aunt as a mother because her Mom had the cheapest possible abortion(they couldn’t afford to feed another child) which was to use Mercury. Her mother died of course. And then in 1935 the Nazi’s stabilized the mark. They actually had 90% silver mark pieces. It got very bad in Germany and sooner or later either the socialists(Nazi’s) or Communists were going to take over the government. Hindenburg was just too old, tired and dying and he was the only person that could’ve kept Germany Democratic.

                • Kirk, America had no high moral ground to stand on when it came to goods and properties. We did the exact same thing to our Japanese internees. I had good friends when I was a child who were among those interred in the USA in their childhoods, so I’m not drawing from history books here, I’m drawing from people whose parents lost their home and business. They weren’t resentful or anything: they loved this country but it was one of those things that had happened to them.

                  As far as looting of conquered territories goes, that’s happened with militaries for an awful long time. Is there any military before the US that gave more than lip service to not looting?

                  • Actually, no America DID NOT do “the exact same thing to our Japanese internees.” No matter what some nutcases claim, there were no American death camps where millions of Japanese were killed.
                    I to have talked to people who were actually in those internment camps (including my uncle’s in-laws). Was rounding them up and forcibly imprisoning them, unjust? Sure it was, but unlike is commonly portrayed, according to actual residents of said camps, conditions in the camps were little, if any, worse than the living conditions most of the residents had been used to on the outside. Also, it is a proven fact that there were Japanese spy’s interned in those camps, and prevented from passing information back to their homeland.

                    Now before someone jumps to the conclusion that I think the internment camps were justified, I don’t. I do however tend to see red when people point at them and claim there was no difference between us and the Germans.

                    Oh, and we were at war with the Japanese, who had attacked us. Comparing that to the justification the Germans used for their genocide is laughable, at best.

                    • We also didn’t round up all folks of Japanese ancestry, and the government didn’t confiscate their goods– many were forced to sell because they were going to be gone. Some had such good neighbors that the neighbors took care of things until they came back.

                      Some Italians (like Joe DiMaggio’s dad) were also forced out of situations where they were thought to have a possibility of nefarious goals.

                      I think the metric was something like distance to the ocean?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Apparently Canada treated their Japanese worse than the US did. [Evil Grin]

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Canadian_internment

                    • Amusing: when we covered WWII in school, most of it was about Japanese internment.

                      The only video they did was for a Canadian place, which did look worse than the one my dad use to visit as a kid….

                    • clark e myers

                      Distance to the ocean was a major factor but not the only one. See e.g. Wikipedia on Crystal City Texas

                      Early in the war, in the name of “hemispheric security,” the United States government began negotiations with several Latin American countries to round up and deport German and Japanese nationals who had been living in those countries.[8] Upon their arrival in New Orleans, Louisiana, the initial wave of male deportees were arrested on the grounds that they had attempted to enter the country illegally (having been denied visas by Immigration authorities) and detained at various INS stations in the region, before being relocated to the internment camps at Kenedy, Texas and Santa Fe, New Mexico.[9] Their wives and children followed them later — ostensibly as volunteers, although most families lacked feasible alternatives to deportation.[9] Once incarcerated in the United States, they could then be sent to Germany or Japan in exchange for the return of American citizens and diplomats stranded in Axis nations.[3][8] The prisoner exchange program proved to be short-lived, and eventually transitioned into a “repatriation” program in which German and Japanese nationals and their families (including many children who had never been to their “home” country) were deported once again to Germany and Japan. The majority of Crystal City’s Latin American population was transported to Germany and Japan at the end of the war, although several hundred Japanese Peruvians were allowed to remain in the U.S. after a two-year legal battle.[10]

                      For some benefits of being in the right place at the right time consider the fairly well known Samuel Ichiye “S. I.” Hayakawa (July 18, 1906 – February 27, 1992). He was Canadian-born of Japanese ancestry. He was later a senator from California. His book Language in Action later expanded to Language in Thought and Action likely influenced Mr. Heinlein with his own take on General Semantics. Certainly influenced and was Tuckerized by Van Vogt. Again looking at Wikipedia

                      Hayakawa, who was in Chicago during the war and was thus not subject to confinement, argued that the time in camp “eventually worked to their advantage” and that Japanese Americans should not be paid for “fulfilling their obligations” to submit to Executive Order 9066.[11][14]

                      emphasis added.

                      IMHO the early consideration of internment was appropriate though I think the matter should have dropped well before Midway. Folks in Ellensburg were expecting the front line to be as near as Snoqualmie if in fact the U.S. could even hold the line of the Cascade peaks. The early U.S. Army war plan was a fighting retreat to the Sierra Nevada line and a slow nasty fight to retake the West Coast. All so much panic but once set in motion the iron law has its own effect. All the more so for folks as unprincipled as FDR and perhaps as Earl Warren.

                    • They had recruiting stations in the camps. Many young men leapt at the chance — although High Command was careful to send them to Europe.

                  • clark e myers

                    On reflection I suggest exact same thing might better be phrased similar things Frex

                    Each child at the Crystal City Internment Camp received a liter of milk each day

                    Germans and other Europeans were I think better treated – more hot water – than the ethnic Japanese some of whom got running water but no personal hot water tap.

                    Sure if nothing else, and there was plenty else, Japanese might lose their rightful property to looters and to tax sales. Even that was a distinction between local and national action policy.

                    Still I can’t imagine a scene nearly so hilarious as the story told by a Belgian

                    (history of resistance activity verified by the Gestapo enhanced interrogation – if the war had gone differently he wouldn’t have gone home – whose best friend just the same was a Knights Cross and a lot more wearing hero of the German Army)

                    who regaled his friends for weeks with the story of a typically German tourist ringing his doorbell to say the family was there to see the fancy place the German had lived in during the war.

                    • clark e myers

                      Notice that sending the 442nd to Europe was in everybody’s interests. Harshly as the Japanese treated Caucasian prisoners of war – to include vivisection and barbecuing human parts – the Japanese treated ethnic Japanese on the Allied side more like the Rape of Nanking from the get go.

                      And again Mr. Heinlein certainly, and I suspect some meaning attaches to Dr. Pournelle’s use of 442nd though it may be related to a highland constabulary suggests the 442nd’s name and motto will be remembered as in The Cat who Walks Through Walls. The Eighth Air Force and the Pacific fleet submarine force had the highest proportion of casualties among major American units but nobody even comes close the 442nd at anything like the same size. “The 4,000 men who initially made up the unit in April 1943 had to be replaced nearly 2.5 times.”

    • It would have been better than what we did. The Nuremburg Trials were a sham, simply because they included a representative of Stalin. And that sham enshrined the idea that there is a “community of nations” with authority to pass judgement. Pfui.

      If we had simply rounded up any Germans we found objectionable, and shot them under the legal theory “when you lose a war, especially a war you started, bad things happen to you.” A lot of Internationalist bushwa migt not be quite so respected.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Churchill’s first impulse, after hearing about the Holocaust, was to do just that. Some Allied soldiers who liberated death camps did it before anyone could object.

        • I’m not necessarily saying that the impulse to react to mass murder with indescriminate executions is good. Just better than kludging up an “international court”, with no previously recognized jurisdiction, that has the moral stature of slime mold because of who you included.

      • Thus making damn sure anybody who suspected they’d be accused of horrific crimes would never surrender, or have reason to stop short of the max.

        Seems we dropped a couple of rather big bombs to avoid that.

    • I assume you are actually referring to the blood group tattoo that members of the Waffen SS (i.e., the combat arm) got? Considering that toward the end of the war, about 1/3 of German conscripts were effectively shunted into the Waffen SS by press-ganging methods that make a mockery of the word “voluntary”… no thanks, I’ll pass.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_blood_group_tattoo

  7. War is the ultimate expression of collective punishment. ‘You are a member of this enemy group, so you must be killed/expelled/enslaved/etc.’ Sometimes you simply must stop taking people as individuals and treat them as a group. Not to do so is invite the destruction of your group. We did not ask each German soldier on the battlefield what his political beliefs were before we killed them. We did not send inquiries to the ball bearing factory workers before we bombed them. We did not send pollsters into Tokyo before we incinerated them.

    Treating people who, collectively, want to destroy or displace your group, as individuals is pointless. And ‘collectively’ doesn’t have to mean each and every single one of them. If the small percentage of authority figures – those who shape public opinion and make things happen – declare themselves to be your enemy, then the whole group is your enemy, because the members of the group will do as the group directs.

    Individual justice is for individual crimes in a civil, Western society. Not in war. Nor in societies that don’t acknowledge individual guilt.

    • Then why do they accept surrenders?

      • I understand the U.S. Marines stopped accepting Japanese surrenders on Guadalcanal after they found mulated Marine bodies with some that also showed signs of torture. I am sure this wasn’t policy, just what the guys on the line were doing.

        • The other and well known reason is that Japanese surrenders were known to be “temporary”; i.e. until they could get the drop on the captor. Senior military leadership was well aware of this.

          • Iirc Japan was not a signatory of t the Geneva convention, so was not obligated to its protections though we often extended them.

            • Japanese military culture also disdained the concept of surrender as dishonorable. Poor understanding of our foes always has consequences.

              Regarding the Japanese mutilations of American Marines, it was particularly horrendous to our troops, involving amputation of certain specific organs and inserting them into the marine’s mouth.

              Mutilation of the dead (or helpless) is a particular bugaboo of American troops, probably extending all the way back to the wars against the Apache, Comanche and other native guerrillas.

              • Dark Secret Place had some stories about the dangerous-to-them aspects of that world view last week– it’s part of why they did so poorly at sea battles, waiting to outnumber the enemy was proof you thought they were BETTER than you, and thus dishonorable.

                There were even cases where our side had a single group in ground combat, and the Japanese outnumbered by a huge number… and they’d send two groups in. And then two more. And then two more. Not overwhelming the guys who were dug in, even though they would’ve won easily if they had….
                (Presumably, it was by who the commander sending the guys in was, but we don’t know….)

        • The same thing happened in Europe after the SS massacre of US troops outside Malmedy during the Battle of the Bulge. As word got around US troops just stopped accepting German surrenders, most especially from any SS.

          US Army leadership was tracking the surrender statistics and saw this effect spread as different units found out through the grapevine. They tried to counter it by emphasizing the intel value of prisoner questioning, but the prisoner rates never really came back to pre-Malmedy levels.

          Yes, this was group punishment. Purely tribal, purely grassroots.

          • There is a logic here in that military is distinct from ordinary activities, as military fight as a unit — it is a defining characteristic extending as far back as Viking shield walls to Roman legions and Greek phalanxes.

          • The Malmedy massacre probably stalled the entire Ardennes offensive. The news of it was all over the front within at most three hours and troops that might have surrendered fought it out and resistance got far more aggressive. Talk about unintended consequences.

      • It’s kind of the ultimate opt-out. You can interpret surrendering as an individual removing themselves from the other group.

        That does not mean you trust them to stay removed, or even to act towards your sides interests on their own, as their surrender may have simply been made to avoid death or injury while still believing in the other sides cause, but in western military thought surrenderees are seen as no longer acting in coordinated opposition and so no longer are legitimate subjects of force targeting that group.

        That’s why subsequent attacks by surrenderees are treated so harshly – by taking advantage of the safety offered by the opt-out while not really opting out, they distort the system and endanger those who are following the rules.

        Now given the above, resistance by individuals captured without any means to resist could be ethically evaluated something different, even though both the surviving crew of a sunk enemy sub are usually piled into the same PW camps as people who sneak across the lines to surrender individually.

        Humans are complicated, and the entire western ethical backdrop, even with carve outs for war, still is based on individual consequences for individual actions, which is why Sara’s points about group culpability and punishment, with no regard whatsoever for individual actions (See the zero media credit Charlton Heston received for his participating in the front lines of the MLK marches once he was participating in another civil rights effort with the NRA) grate so heavily on many.

      • You accept surrender in the hope that, should circumstances change, your surrender would be accepted. Which is part of why sides that make false surrender are hated so bitterly; their opponents know that surrender is no longer an option.

      • Because war (generally speaking) is indeed something else, “Continuation of a peacetime policy by other means” (the one sentence in Clausewitz’s “On War” everybody remembers) or “controlled violence, for a purpose” (RAH).

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      While fighting the war, I agree.

      After the war is over, it makes sense to “judge” individuals in smaller groups according the actions of the group but IMO it doesn’t always make sense to “punish” individuals who were part of a group for the sins committed by the group or by parts of the group.

      For example, it makes no sense to punish members of German military units on the “Western Front” for crimes committed by German military units on the “Eastern Front”.

      • You know, this has always fascinated me. How is a group of soldiers shooting 1,000 civilians somehow worse than bombing a village and killing 1,000 civilians? Everyone gets upset at the soldiers, but gives the airmen a pass, or actually praises them. Is it that the soldiers can see the blood, whereas the airmen can’t see the results of their actions?
        The soldiers commit ‘atrocities’ and ‘war crimes’, while the airmen ‘participate in bombing campaigns’, where the net effect is the same.

        I just don’t get it, I guess. It’s either wrong, or not. Maybe I’m just too simple-minded.

        • For what it’s worth, I imagine it’s because we don’t expect empathy to stop the airmen — they’re too far away, and have no other method of accomplishing their military goal save by dropping bombs. Soldiers on the ground, by contrast, presumably (a) should face stronger opposition from their own consciences by personally seeing the targets of their actions, and (b) could in theory accomplish their military goal with a much more precise and less fatal use of force, civilians being presumed to be unarmed and much less inclined to defend territory or materiel at the cost of their own lives. So when soldiers wipe out an entire town in person, it comes off as more unnecessary and horrible than the air bombing, even if the total lives lost aren’t much worse either way.

          I’ve seen the same dilemma with the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings: most rational analysis acknowledges that winning the Pacific war in the “normal” manner in 1945 would probably have cost far more thousands of Japanese lives (and certainly far more American lives) than the bombs did, and not necessarily a significantly lighter proportion of them civilians. Yet the atom bombs remain a particular moral horror not for the scope of their consequences alone but for the disconnect between, in an emotional-gut sense, the “ease” and “cheapness” of the action compared to its consequences. When one man in one plane with one weapon can wipe out 100,000 lives with almost no personal risk, it somehow just feels more wrong than if an army had gone and shed its own blood to do the same thing.

          Which is one reason why consequentialism as a philosophy never took off as much as one might expect: almost everybody has a sense of when a difference in means do make a difference to the ends, even if they don’t have a formal moral calculus for it.

          • Adm. Dan Gallery (captured the U-505) wrote a number of books, in one of which he claimed we didn’t need to drop the bombs–we had the ships to blockade the islands and starve them out. The first to die of starvation would likely have been the women and children. I suspect the American people would not have accepted that.

            • All that solution would have allowed for is substituting one barbarity for another, and the resultant likely total destruction of Japanese civil society would have left little to reconstruct. Care to imagine the howling wilderness we would have had to administer, after the whole mess that was Imperial Japan finally dissolved?

              The atom bombs were calculated shocks, and intended to give the Japanese an acceptable “out”, they being so far out of existing context that their use would enable the surrender. Even so, it was close-run–There were actual coup attempts, when the Emperor made his broadcast. The surrender almost didn’t happen, and it is interesting to imagine what the result would have been, had those coups been successful. Japan almost certainly wouldn’t exist, as we know it.

              • Note Hirohito’s “we must bear the unbearable” speech, in which he referenced that with this weapon, continuing the war would not mean just the end of the Japanese nation (which the hardliners could still sell as going out in a blaze of glory) but of the human race. So they could tell themselves that they surrendered for the sake of the continued existence of humanity.
                And it had to be two so they knew the 1st wasn’t a fluke. (They had no way of knowing generating enough fissile material for another bomb would have taken quite a while.)
                Somebody very close to me spent many years in Japan and speaks the language fluently. Every older Japanese she spoke to, to a man, said “if we’d had it ourselves, of course we’d have used it”.
                Using it was a terrible but correct decision.

                • I have an uncle who was wounded on Luzon, PI. He did occupation duty in Japan. He might not have survived had President Truman not ordered the bombs be used.

                  I have read that the military is still using the Purple Heart medals and body bags stockpiled for the invasion of Japan.

        • “You know, this has always fascinated me. How is a group of soldiers shooting 1,000 civilians somehow worse than bombing a village and killing 1,000 civilians?”

          The fact that you can’t make the distinction between the two makes me want to make disparaging comments about your lack of ability to think with moral clarity, but I’ll presume you’re a victim of the modern educational system, and I won’t make them. There are differences, and the fact you can’t discern them is a testament to the skill with which Gramsci and his followers have polluted the West’s educational system.

          Key and essential difference? The men shooting a thousand civilians know what they’re doing, beyond doubt. They’re looking the victims in the eyes, and while that’s a bit more honest than bombing them from thousands of feet in the air, it does lend the entire proceedings a bit of a different cast. If you walk into a peaceful village, line up the inhabitants, and kill a thousand of them, you’ve quite clearly committed a war crime. There is no way to mistake that, as you pull the trigger. Maybe you’re doing it because you’re poorly led by men like Lieutenant Calley of My Lai fame, or maybe you’re doing it because you’re a thoroughly indoctrinated member of the Hitlerjugend division at Ascq–Either way, you knew you were doing wrong when you did it.

          Conversely, if you’re an airman bombing that village from ten thousand feet? The thousand dead are an unfortunate by-product of the weapons you’re using. The moral onus lies on the men who made the decision to do the bombing, and who created the circumstances where that bombing is necessary. Perhaps that’s an innocent village, filled with flowers, puppies, small children, and the men who decided to bomb the place are just cruel. Of course, there could be a reason they’re bombing it, like the enemy using it to hide a tank regiment or two. That’s just the nature of an aerial bombardment–You want moral onus, look for the men who started the war, and decided to conceal weapons and warriors among civilians. It’s not on you as the airman, unless you’re somehow aware that every civilian in that village you’re bombing is an innocent. Which is the case for the infantryman doing the same thing, with his weapons.

          We can make a similar calculus for the forward observer calling the aerial fires in, should that be someone who can see what is in that village. If he has good reason to think that there are armored regiments concealed within, he’s made no questionable moral decision. The men that decided to hide among civilians, and then make war from among them made that choice for him. The civilians are, sadly, victims of a war crime perpetrated by the other side. Should, however, that young man with the radio be fully aware that nothing but innocents dwell in that village, and he’s called the aircraft in to destroy it for no good reason besides the fact he wants to see the rubble bounce afterwards? He’s the one who’s got the moral onus, not the airmen.

          Inability to discern this sort of thing concerns me, because it indicates to me a deterioration of our culture, one that I think has derived from deliberate malfeasance on the part of our educational system. Remove the ability to think clearly about such matters, and its all too easy to convince people that there is nothing worth fighting over with opponents who actually do commit atrocities as a matter of course. Like Communists and Moslems…

          • I think part of it is that the moral calculus of war is somewhat lopsided in favor of reducing friendly combatant casualties. Take a hypothetical example where a soldier attacks an unidentified individual that looks like a threat to one of his allies, killing an innocent civilian. An outside neutral observer would undoubtedly prefer an outcome where the soldier, who knows and took the risks of war, dies in place of the civilian. The problem is that once you’re in the boots of the soldier making the decision, you can’t base this decision purely on this encounter in isolation. Even taking out the emotional aspect, both the soldier and the civilian are at risk as long as the war continues. Not shooting further marginally increases the chances that their side will lose the war, putting civilians back at home at risk as well. The only way to end the risk of civilian casualties is to end the war, which means taking the shot.

            If my goal, say, is to eliminate the threat from enemy artillery, the morality of my decision shouldn’t matter whether I decide to do so by destroying the guns, the trucks bringing the ammunition, or the factory making the ammunition, but by which reduces the length of the war and the long term risk to friendly forces and civilians and in the short term reduces the risk to those tasked with the destruction. There is a moral calculus, however, between options with similar risk. If I can wreck the factory with a well-placed smart bomb, I should not expect to get away with carpet-bombing the entire city to the same end.

          • I think I left something crucial out – in both cases, the men are acting under orders. I’m not talking about men run amok and slaughtering innocents just because.

            I submit that the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden were aimed at the military target known better as ‘the civilian populace’, from which soldiers are recruited, factories manned, and taxes paid. If the order is to kill civilians, and it is obeyed, I don’t see where the weapons used to do so make a difference – other than we’re squeamish, and don’t like to see the results of the slaughter first hand.

            Newer incident that still annoys me – patrol in Iraq takes fire from multiple bad guys in a house, responds by clearing the house in the proper manner – by tossing in grenades and shooting anything still moving. The troops are court martialed for ‘murdering’ the civilians (collateral damage) in the house, along with the three insurgents. Yet, a drone operator in Colorado pulls the trigger and blows up a house with women and children in it (collateral damage), just in order to kill one Taliban commander. No charges filed, possibly was rewarded. Yes, I know the drone operator was acting under orders. He still killed a family – when he was in no danger, and nobody was shooting from the house. Where is the difference here? I’d argue that the drone operator was more morally questionable, yet he didn’t end up in Ft. Leavenworth prison.

            I’m just pi**ed about the hoops we make troops jump through (having been one of them), and the modern expectation that war is ‘clean’. We actually tell troops that we prefer them to die rather than to annoy to local populace, against which we are supposed to be waging war. This sort of idiocy is what leads to mutinies. http://www.vvaw.org/veteran/article/?id=1696

            • I think the difference here is that the soldiers executing the civilians have already won – those civilians, their town, their farms, etc, won’t be used for the enemy war effort anymore, because presumably the friendly soldiers are occupying for the duration. An aerial bombardment behind enemy lines, even of strictly civilian assets (though total war theory says that there aren’t strictly civilian assets), doesn’t have that surety.

        • This is one of the reasons I despise the whole Nuremberg thing; all too often “War Crimes” charges amount to propaganda. One of the reasons that peoole were so slow to realize how bad the Nazis were was that much of what they did do, the WWI Germans were accused of doing, and no evidence ever emerged. The Left wil swallow any charges of “War Crimes” against Israel, up to and including taking at face value that photo of an ambulance “targeted by Israeli missiles” until somebody pointed out that missile holes are not neatly circular and generally do not go exactly where an ambulance’s emergency flasher would go. By the same token, they are slow to realize the truth of Communist atrocities, and (for example) still wear shirts emblazoned with the face of mass muredrer, tortuerer, and sadist Che.

          Much easier to keep it simple; “We executed them because we won the war they started, and there’s more whup-ass where that came from. Any questions?”

        • Is it that the soldiers can see the blood, whereas the airmen can’t see the results of their actions?

          Yes, sort of..

          Bullets can choose a target. Bombs can’t.

          The sample you’re going off of is those who chose to shoot civies vs those who happened to hit civies- and you wonder the responses are different?

    • There is a set of tradeoffs involved with judging individuals apart from group memberships. The three questions that need to be asked are: “what is the likelihood that this individual is an atypical member of the group”, “what is the penalty for making a wrong decision about whether or not this individual is an atypical member of the group” and “how much time and effort will it take to make that distinction”. War is an extreme edge case for the latter two questions, and possibly for the first as well: the soldier in enemy uniform is in uniform and wearing distinctive markings, if you’re wrong in assuming the enemy is atypical you are in grave danger (if you’re wrong by assuming the enemy is typical when he’s not, it sucks a lot more for him than for you), and you likely have little or no time to make that distinction. To answer Mary. the whole point of the usual rituals of surrender (drop weapons, hands up, white flag) is to specifically mark yourself as atypical, reduce your threat to the guy making the distinction and therefore give him more time to make the judgement.

      Most civil interactions don’t suffer from being edge cases for the three questions. Law Enforcement is one of those rare cases which approach War in terms of the difficulty in answering those questions. In fact, Law Enforcement may be worse in terms of “what is the penalty for making a wrong decision about whether or not this individual is an atypical member of the group”, in that while the penalties for thinking a hostile suspect is non-threatening are also grave for you (“Carried by six”), the penalties for judging a non-threat as a hostile are almost as bad for you (“judged by twelve”) and worse for him.

      • The perils of poor companions and “gong along” are illustrated in Lonesome Dove’s subplot of Jake Spoon and how he found himself at the end of his rope.

        Owen Wister’s The Virginian carries a similar tale in the story of Steve, led astray by evil companions and accepting his punishment like a man.

    • (Nods) I didn’t address that here (I was running out of space) but that’s one of the reasons I found the cries of “No Justice, No Peace” to be exceptionally obnoxious.
      If we have a war, you’ll not get justice.

      • The Other Sean

        They did make me think “No Puppies, No Peace” during the dust-up earlier this year, though. I had the image of a crowd outside the Worldcon, waving signs and chanting. Signs like “No Puppies, No Peace” and #StoryMatters. 🙂

  8. As I collected more ILL books this AM about Europe between the Wars, I had to laugh a little at myself. In grad school I deliberately avoided this period because it is so d-mn depressing. The choices available the many Europeans seemed to be bad, worse, and didn’t-work-so-good-last-time.

    Pearl S. Buck edited a book by a young Hungarian woman about the early 20s-30s, and the lady describes her acquaintances’ growing anger at watching the nouveau riche parading around in “their” furs and hosting parties with “their” silver and china that the older families had been forced to sell for food during the hyperinflations. It’s all too easy to see how group justice became accepted as “justice” in the minds of some people, especially if you add in fears of Communism and that the “offenders” belong to the “international other.”

    OTOH, read “Holding the Stirrup” by Elizabeth von und zu Gutenberg. She glosses over some things, I suspect in part because she really was that sheltered by her husband and male relatives before the War, but her perspective is interesting. (She was also a Catholic mystic, so be ready for a few passages that may read more than a little oddly for non-believers.)

    • I have noticed an all too common tendency of folk to view events with the benefit of hind-sight, denouncing the lack of fore-sight of the people back when. While it is very convenient to judge with the benefit of after the fact knowledge, humans’ ability to accurately project from any given point has not engendered much confidence.

      In the Twenties and early Thirties the evils that were Fascism and Communism were not as readily apparent as were the evils they proposed to fight. That is the importance of reading such works as you describe, and reading them with open mind. In order to grasp how we got from there to here you must start there, not here.

      • How true. Of all eras, the Thirties is the one that most calls for reading primary source to realize what the issues were.

        G.K. Chesterton got it early. “By far the stupidest thing done, not only in the last year, but in the last two or three centuries, was the acceptance by the Germans of the Dictatorship of Hitler — to say nothing of Goering.” But if you read his End of the Armistice, you get an interesting view. (Yes, he died in 1936. Yes, he wrote enough works about the outbreak of WWII to be collected into a book.)

    • I acquired a collection of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines from 1930 to 1955 or so. (the entire runs of both magazines are available at the Google Books site) They have provided many hours of entertainment…

      These aren’t political magazines, but there’s a surprising amount of “current affairs” in them as they relate to technology. From the 1930s onward they regularly mention the forthcoming war in Europe, US re-armament, problems with Japan, etc. While the usual histories make out like it was all a huge surprise, both of those magazines were treating WWII as highly likely in 1930 and as inevitable by 1935. A very different view from what I got from post-WWII sources!

      • Pearl Harbor wasn’t a surprise because we weren’t expecting war with Japan, it was a surprise because we didn’t expect the IJN to be able to strike Hawaii.

        We were very nearly right, Admiral Nagumo decided against a third strike wave that would have targeted fuel supplies and repair facilites in part because it would have meant abandoning several destroyers at sea in order to have enough fuel to get the strike force back to Japan.

        It probably worked out for the best for us. Almost every ship sunk at Pearl Harbor was returned to service – the Arizona being the only modern warship not salvaged. If we hadn’t placed the Pacific Fleet in one place just within reach of the IJN Japan would probably have attacked the Phillippenes on schedule and Nagumo’s strike force would have positioned itself to intercept the Pacific Fleet as it came to releive the PI. Basically replaying the strategy behind the battle of Tsushima, which given the results of USN-IJN battles early in the war would have gone only slightly better for us than it did for the Russians, and we wouldn’t have been able to recover any of the ships lost.

        • RealityObserver

          Pearl Harbor also proved the effectiveness of carriers as strike forces (yes, yes, Taranto – but US battleship admirals were still fighting WWI.)

          It fortuitously left us with carriers as our only effective heavy force in the Pacific, which gave carrier admirals the starring role in that theater, reducing the IJN naval forces, a necessary prerequisite to the island hopping campaign.

          It held up the use of battleships until the war had progressed to the stage where they were most useful (far more useful than carrier-based planes) – shore bombardment in support of amphibious landings. FYI – the Oklahoma was successfully floated, but capsized while under tow to California for complete repair to serviceability, so we effectively lost two battleships permanently.

          • The funny part has always been that the Japanese seemed not to have learned the lesson of Pearl Harbor, at least not as well as the USN – they continued to look for their doctrinally-demanded “decisive engagement” between their battleships and the US fleet long after the USN had relegated our BBs to exceptionally well protected shore bombardment and AA platforms protecting the carriers task forces.

            I believe at Midway the IJN had one entire pincer of their way-too-many-pincers Midway attack populated with a BB-heavy strike element, just ahead of the transports carrying invasion troops, and they were still leading with battleships at Leyte Gulf (admittedly at that point becuase they had no effective naval air arm remaining).

            It just goes to show that the whole “paradigm shift” thing depends mostly on the people who make the mental shift, not necessarily those who triggered their recognition.

  9. “… when society starts tarring all members of a group with the actions of a few of its present-day members or members…”

    It’s called “tribalism”. I’ve seen it at work in more than a few African countries, and I wish to God I hadn’t. One loses track after the first thousand bodies, but the smell of blood and shit and decaying bodies never leaves one’s nostrils.

    I truly hope we don’t get anywhere near that in this country . . . but looking at the behavior of Those Who Know The Truth, I’d say we’re a lot closer to it than we should be.

    Keep your powder dry.

    • The biggest lie we tell ourselves is “We’re different; that cannot happen here.”

      Our ability to cling to such a lie even as we watch its repudiation played out nightly in our newscasts ought be humbling.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod. IMO it’s related to the idea that “of course they *knew* how evil that group was”.

        • The Democrat Party was born in racism and has never left.

          • The Other Sean

            Democrats were responsible for the Trail of Tears, the Civil War, the defeat of 19th century civil rights legislation, the segregation of the navy, mass dismissal of black civil servants, the insidious and racist American Protective League, the mass internment of Americans of Japanese descent, and the failure or watering-down of civil rights legislation for the first 64 years of the 20th century. That’s just some of their misdeeds in the racism column.

      • Anything that has happened before can happen again.
        Anything that has happened there can happen here.

    • Personally, I’m investing heavily in precious metals: copper, brass, and lead in particular.

      • Hey! Ease up on the lead and let someone else grab some, willya?

        I actually own some special pliers that nip wheel weights off car rims, but now that wheelweights are mostly zinc or iron those late-night visits to the parking lot aren’t as productive as they used to be…

  10. “…intellectuals are often attracted to leftism…”

    Ever have a something just jump out and make you go, “Yeah, but *why*?”

    • Because it’s a neat self contained system that gives them the illusion of knowing the “real truth.”

      • Eamon J. Cole

        The casual danger of intelligence, the assumption that knowing is equivalent to understanding.

      • Because it’s a neat self-contained system that permits–no, requires–that “intellectuals” wield absolute power over the populace. Much better than any system of limited government, in which people mostly make their own decisions and, what’s worst of all, ignore the intellectuals.

        • And note, also, that intellectuals tend to despise ordinary people–and resent it when plumbers make more money than professors.

        • I’ve found this in more than political circles: it’s obnoxiously common in some religious/theological philosophies. Took a couple of religion classes at university – raised religious, was actually converted at about eighteen – and hated them. There was this common, Pharisaic attitude that one must have read the original Aramaic / studied archaeology / attended the proper lectures / etc. to even begin to lead an acceptable Christian life. I wrote the whole thing off when a professor put her own interpretation as more valid than the explicit words of an Apostle. Had one class that was good, taught by a fellow who’d just finished a three year stint overseeing a church mission in, IIRC, the Andes. Distinct difference in attitude from the ivory tower set.

          I love learning, study, reading, reasoning. Those Huns who’ve met me probably know I talk too much, but I do love to listen to people who know their subject and are enthusiastic about it. I love being in the company of robust and diligent intellectuals, even if I usually only understand the basics of the discussion. To insist that everyone must either be an academic or defer to them in everything is bushwa of the worst order. I could go on, but I’m going to try not to. *kicks soapbox away firmly*

          • One fundamental aspect of the Ivory Tower existence is a lack of worry over the mundane demands of commonplace jobs, such as unclogging a customer’s drain, repairing a car or filling a tooth. For the Ivory Damn Intellectual Old Tower residents, what matters is how effectively you can argue that 4 plus 4 equals ten, or that rape culture is an artifact of our cisnormative bigendered viewpoint.

            Like religious doctrine, any correlation between theory and reality is strictly coincidental and probably a consequence of an undetected flaw in professor’s reasoning.

            Were it left up to the IDIOT crowd, Gordias’ knot would remain unsolved.

      • Sorry for the necro-post but I’ve been chewing on this for, oh a long time now, and I finally found something that I think is more accurate or at least more satisfying because it answers the fervor of adoption with an easily graspable rationale for it: greed/lust for power.

        “It is not the truth of Marxism that explains the willingness of intellectuals to believe it, but the power that it confers on intellectuals, in their attempts to control the world. And since, as Swift says, it is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into, we can conclude that Marxism owes its remarkable power to survive every criticism to the fact that it is not a truth-directed but a power-directed system of thought”

        – Roger Scruton

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Leftism flatters the intellectual.

      Some of them would rather make up a way to use intelligence to pretend to solve everything than say “I don’t have a pickup and am too clumsy to touch a chainsaw. I’m never going to be more than second rate at cleaning up storm debris, but I’ll help out anyway.” They’d rather a superfluous ‘management’ position than admit that there are other things which are important, need doing, and go help get them done.

    • ““…intellectuals are often attracted to leftism…”

      Ever have a something just jump out and make you go, “Yeah, but *why*?””

      Because they invented it, and stupidly assume that they’ll be running things “after the revolution…”. It also appeals to their egotism, in that leftism/socialism requires that its practitioners have and apply perfect knowledge to the business of running the socialist world. They assume they have the one, and their arrogance leads them to believe that they could apply it and have it work. For examples, see the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and Venezuela. The sheer arrogance of the theorists and intellectuals behind the thrones in all three of those examples is breathtaking: They all think they’re gods, and it’s probable that they still do. The reason that things didn’t and aren’t working out has less to do with their ideas, and more to do with the incompetent thugs who took things over to enact them. Or, so they surmise…

      To be a left-wing socialist implies that one must think oneself god-like in knowledge and abilities. The necessary arrogance, and simple fuckwittery necessary to develop the thought process that says things economic are so simple as to be understood and manipulated by one man, or one group of men, is generally present only in people who really aren’t that intelligent or wise. It’s unfortunate that our education and political system keeps sending these sub-normal lackwits the signal that they’re at all competent, but both systems do.

      • RealityObserver

        Leftist intellectuals posit (correctly) that their utopia cannot be implemented in the face of the practical people that will oppose it. So, obviously, the current order must be overthrown.

        They cannot accomplish that by themselves – they are intellectuals after all. So, obviously, they must recruit practical people that agree with them about overthrowing the current order.

        Unfortunately for them, the practical people that they recruit have no interest in utopias. Their only interest is in getting rid of the other practical people that stood in the way of their path to power.

        Note that Adolph Hitler (nor Benito Mussolini, nor Francisco Franco, nor Miklos Horthy) contributed not one jot to the core ideology of Fascism – its intellectual roots were already well established by the time any of them came along. And, of course, those intellectuals had to be the second against the wall, so they wouldn’t interfere with the practical things that had to be done. (The same, of course, with Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez, etc.)

        The Leftists are quite correct that their ideology has never really been tried. What they seem unable to realize is that their ideology will never really be tried – because it needs practical people to implement it, and practical people have very little interest in impractical ideologies.

    • In my experience a common factor among “intellectuals” is that someone else paid for their education, and if they ever held a job, it was politics or management of some kind.

      Academia is a rigidly heirarchic world. Academics are used to absolute power wielded from above, so socialism looks comfortable and normal to them.

    • For the same reason that so many intellectuals are enamored of The Republic–they think they’ll be the Philosopher-King.

  11. Slightly OT (Haw-haw — Debbie Wasserman Schultz is OT, not NT, get it?) but this answers the question uppermost on everyone’s mind today: How can you tell a contemporary Democrat from a Socialist:

    Bonus: apparently Chris Matthews cares!

    • Trying again with better embed coding:

      • Expletives expleting deleted.

        Apparently the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist is that Republicans are Eeeeeevul.

        HT Powerline, Instapundit and a buncha other sites.

    • CAN you tell? Because since Carter I thought it was “Different name same smell.”

      • It is mostly a matter of how far down that slippery slope you slide. We know what’s at the slope’s bottom: doom, death and despair.

      • But as our current situation proves, if you give it a shiny new name and insert enough distracting squirrels into the mix most folks won’t notice the stench until far too late.
        Six and a half years into this cluster fisk and doofus can still declare with a straight face what a great job he’s done and that if allowed he could be elected for a third term. And man the Good Lord save and protect we fools, he may just be right.
        If Hillary looses, and that’s not a given in spite of her being a liar and almost certainly a criminal, it will mostly be because she isn’t enough like Obama to inspire the hard left fringe and the vote cheaters.

        • Six and a half years into this cluster fisk and doofus can still declare with a straight face what a great job he’s done and that if allowed he could be elected for a third term.

          Note the venue and audience – no one in that audience in Ethiopia was going to burst into laughter at the absurdity. Only the press pool had enogh context to see how utterly insane that is, and their interest in continuing membership in their guild would stifle any urge to audibly chuckle.

  12. comment

  13. I nearly spewed orange juice all over my computer at you using Uller Uprising as your example in this. Well played, Ma’am, well played! ;D

  14. I watched with fascination as Geraldo Riviera very emotionally chastised Mike Huckabee for comparing Iranian statements about Israel and Jews to the Holocaust. Apparently any reference to the Holocaust is off limits, never mind that the Iranians have stated quite clearly that their goal is the total destruction of Israel and the death of all Jews. Of course Geraldo is a tool, perhaps one of the biggest ones on TV today, though I must say after watching that video upstream that Chris Matthews gives him a run for his money.
    Huckabee asked Riviera what the purpose of the Holocaust museum was. After waffling a bit he replied with some version of never forget and never again. To which Huckabee responded “exactly!”

    • Geraldo is a broken tool.

    • Iran … “The holocaust never happened! And we aim to repeat it with more results”

    • Huckabee wasn’t me favorite governor, and I’m not all that fond of some of his political positions. On the other hand, he’s usually able to back those positions up with some kind of reasoning, even if some of it is pure whack-a-doodle.

      He used to do guest shows on a local rock station back when he was governor of Arkansas. People would call in and go for his throat and he usually gave as good as he got. And he’s got a sense of humor; he formed a band called “Capitol Offense” and they opened Riverfest every year.

      • IIRC, Huckabee did a weekly show where he was open to all comers for ANY topic they felt like it.

        I’d still never vote for him unless it was a lesser evil, and even then I’d have to go to the shrine for those cops whose death he caused, but that does take guts.

  15. scott2harrison

    A problem that I have with this post is the conflating of the concepts of justice and self defense. Justice is normally thought of as what you seek after a bad event to make the victim(s) whole and/or punish the perpetrators. Self defense is what you do to prevent the bad event. You may do many things in self defense that are not just at all.

    • You can kill a madman who genuinely believes that you are threatening his life in self-defense, but not in justice afterwards.

      • Why the hell not?

        Seriously–Make the case for that, because I’m not seeing it. At all. The madman is mad, and if he represents a continuing threat to my life, why the hell should I suffer him to live, and have that threat constantly at my back? Did I do something that requires I live with that Sword of Damocles hang over me and mine forever after, simply because the creature represented by it is mad?

        When you’re dealing with dogs running loose with hydrophobia, stopping to consider the merits of the various moral positions represented by those dogs is highly contraindicated for survival and continued good health.

        As a practical man, I’m not going to worry about whether or not Cudjo over there led an exemplary life before the rabid raccoon he drove away from his owner’s kids bit him, I’m just going to observe a couple of salient facts: One, he’s rabid. Two, he’s dangerous to me personally, and three, he’s a menace to society in general, of which I’m a member. As such, I really don’t give a damn that he contracted rabies from doing something noble. That’s not a concern–What is is the actual real threat represented, here? If Cudjo leaves my lawn, am I not justified in going after him, or calling in Animal Control, because of the future threat he represents?

        Your position only makes sense in a world that can count on permanent, safe restraint of a madman who is fixated on taking my life. In saying I’m not justified in taking his life myself, after the fact, you’re condemning me to living in life-long terror of this individual coming for me and mine at a time of his own choosing, when I or they are vulnerable. What is your moral justification for that?

        • If Cudjo leaves my lawn, am I not justified in going after him, or calling in Animal Control, because of the future threat he represents?

          Calling Animal Control, yes. Going after him yourself (barring evidence of immediate threat to someone else), no. How many years of vet school do you have? What diagnostic criteria are you using to diagnose rabies at 30 feet?

          Your scenario of pre-emptively killing a madman bent on killing you just results in your target claiming that there’s a madman bent of killing him and taking actions to eliminate that threat. Non-immediate threats are generally hard to identify, which is why we as a society hire and empower experts to evaluate those threats and handle them appropriately. We in America have chosen to have freedom be the failure mode of that evaluation process on the theory that true threats will eventually make themselves known and either be dealt with by the system or by a target under immediate threat.

          None of this applies to international relations because there is no such thing as international law, courts, or police. There is no clearly articulated and enforced set of standards that all parties can be held to by impartial actors. Thus we as a nation must take actions ourselves to prevent threats from becoming immediate.

          • You’re going to die the first time you’re actually in a position where you have to deal with this. Arrange your affairs accordingly.

            I don’t need vet school to identify that a dog behaving abnormally, being aggressive, and foaming at the mouth is probably hydrophobic. Failure to deal with that animal once it ceases to present a threat to me personally is a moral failing, especially if I am able to. Any future victims of that poor beast are my responsibility. Calling animal control, or ignoring him once he leaves my property when I have the ability to put an end to his misery and threat is a moral failing.

            However, a rabid dog is not a perfect stand-in for that hypothetical madman who wants to kill me. The social contract we supposedly have together says that I should surrender my right to deal with this creature to society, and they will render justice to me and mine in return for that.

            However, as we are seeing that social contract self-destruct around us, what benefit do I have from continuing to adhere to it? All I get in return for letting society deal with this situation is a condition of continuing, unpredictable danger. The fine moralists who take the side of this insane individual want to help him, and to hell with me. Did I do anything to this person, to be deserving of the continuing threat and stress he represents? We’re going to assume that from this definition of “madman” that I did not, and that he has simply chosen me as his random victim. In that society isn’t upholding its side of the bargain by keeping me safe from him, that then argues that I’ve no obligation on my part to suicidally keep my end, either.

            As a practical matter, society has quite literally created a situation where I almost have to take the matter into my own hands, and since I’m not running an institution for the criminally insane, that ends one way, and one way only.

            Anything else requires me to wait with throat bared, for this crazy persons entertainment and enjoyment. Small wonder that I take pre-emptive action, isn’t it? And, you all wondered why it wouldn’t be a good idea to de-institutionalize the insane, and let them live as free-roaming threats to the public on our streets as “homeless people”.

            You wanted the one, you got the other along with it. Live with the consequences.

        • Why the hell not?

          Because he can be stopped otherwise– or, if you are big-L-libertarian, because he’s not threatening you at that time.

          If you break the big-L-Libertarian line, and allow killing of those who are former threats…. grats, you’re a step closer to normal conservative, and anathema to the strict ones.

        • The madman is mad, and if he represents a continuing threat to my life, why the hell should I suffer him to live, and have that threat constantly at my back?

          More to the gut:
          You are mad.
          Make the case that I should not kill you.

          Before I do.

    • I would disagree with that. Self-defense is almost by its definition just.
      When it is done unjustly, it becomes aggression.

  16. John Fund, reporting from the Frontiers of Social Justice Identity Politics:

    Now comes word from the University of California at Irvine that students there will be able to choose their gender from six different choices starting this fall.

    The new form will ask students to pick one gender from six different choices. Prospective students will be asked to choose between male, female, trans male, trans female, gender queer/gender non-conforming and different identity.

    CBS Los Angeles spoke to students at UC Irvine about the change . . . Beyond the political or social reasons, some saw the financial reasons too.

    “A lot of those questions when you’re applying to graduate school or any sort of school are important for financial aid opportunities you can have,” said Joanna Laird to CBS Los Angeles.

    In a statement, Janet Napolitano, the president of the UC system (and President Obama’s former Secretary of Homeland Security) said: “UC is working hard to ensure our campuses model inclusiveness and understanding. I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far, but it doesn’t stop there. We must continue to look at where we can improve so everyone at UC feels respected and supported.”
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421853/university-california-irvine-six-genders-students

    “All of the above” is not an option — I am being disrespected! Micro-aggression police! Micro-aggression police!

    • Traditionally “he” includes “she”, so it’ll have to do for all of the ambiguous whatevers too, because I don’t care what particular kind of special snowflake they think they are.

      At least it’s more polite than George Carlin’s “Hey you! A**hole!” gender-nonspecific designator…

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Only six? Cisnormative bigotry!

    • RealityObserver

      Which one(s) are more financially lucrative? I ask because my nieces, nephews (and grands of same) would probably like to know. They can be whatever gender is needed at the moment, and switch the next year if necessary.

      Sarah, and others here, can probably relate to this – my half-Mexican brother in law, when “integration” was forced on the Tucson school system, asked every year whether his kids needed to white, or brown, or hell, if they needed green that year, they were the children of Martian wetbacks. (Yes, he DID say that one year to an obstreperous educrat.)

      Myself, with only vague northwest European and Polish/Lithuanian to work with, I had to fall back on the “if my kids get hurt in one of your pet ‘integration’ schools, I will hold YOU personally, physically, and immediately responsible.” Worked about as well, with less frustration…

      BTW, after 25+ years of “integration,” they are still “failures.” Mainly because the year they declare success is the year they lose a bunch-a-ton of money in special funding.

    • Polishing their [door]knobs while the bl**dy house is about to collapse.

  17. Sometimes collective group punishment makes sense. British Raj dealings with the Cult of Kali, and the Thuggees come to mind as an example.

    Had I been around, and running things at the end of WWII, and not known how successful (well, so far, anyway…) our half-hearted de-Nazification process would be, I’d have taken a look around at German culture, the track record they had for the last forty years, and I’ve have started up the death camps again, to feed every son-of-a-bitch with a Nazi party membership card into them. Right down to the indoctrinated members of the Hitlerjugend. As a monument and a lesson, I’d have interred their ashes right next to every mass grave those bastards filled across Europe.

    Barbaric? Certainly. Likely to produce individual cases of injustice? Possibly–I’m willing to entertain the idea of a willing participant in the Nazi party as potentially an innocent, but given the glee with which they took part in the economic rape of their own people who happened to be Jewish, and what else they did across Europe, I’m kinda OK with that. The lesson needed to be made clear, and I suspect that the neo-Nazi movement and other associated anti-Semitic (and, other anti-whatevers) would be a lot less enthusiastic about the idea, knowing that there was an established tit-for-tat policy in effect. The Nazis needed extirpation not for what they were and did, but to serve as a salutary lesson down history. That Germany exists is a testament to mercy, and a lesson in how not to do things if you want their effects to last. Right now, people ought to be looking at what the post-war era brought for Germany and shivering a little, not thinking “Well, that wasn’t so bad… We could survive, if we do the same, and don’t win…”.

    You want to influence things for more than a generation or two, harsh lessons are necessary. Ones that stick, ones that ring down the generations. Witness the salutary effect of Mongol policies on the people who were the followers of the Old Man of the Mountains. That group influenced, inimically, the Middle East for generations. After the Mongols, the only remnant of that sect is profoundly pacifistic, and restricts itself to philosophy and dancing. I’d point out that this has held true for rather long time. Our track record with the Nazis isn’t so good–We have a slight resurgence going on, in many of the areas of the world they were first allowed to breed seeing a resurgence. In some parts of Germany, right this very moment, people are dusting off the old party lines, and saying “These are a good idea…”. What should have happened is a general social attitude where someone mentioning the Nazi ideals as a solution to current ills should get a reaction from his neighbors similar to the one they’d get if they suggested bringing back the Bubonic Plague, y’know, for old time’s sake…

    There are times, places, political ideas, religions, and peoples with whom you cannot otherwise deal with, unless you deal with them finally. The results in Iraq from the 2003 war are an example of what happens when you fail to sufficiently defeat an enemy, and the survival/resurgence in Naziism is what happens when you fail to sufficiently destroy what really amounted to a secular religion.

    Genocide is a neutral concept. Sometimes it is justified, just as killing in self-defense is not murder. We’re shortly going to be living in a world where technology makes WMD literal child’s play; our lack of will in setting and maintaining boundaries about what is acceptable and what isn’t will exact a huge price in that world. Right now, Islam ought to be looking back at what the world did to the Nazis, and thinking “Y’know… That could be us, getting done as we did by…”. Instead, they’re looking at what we did after the war, and thinking “Meh. Wasn’t so bad… Argentina looks pretty good, this time of year…”.

    I think we’re going to come to regret our “mercy”, in all too many cases. This long period of relative predictability and peace we’ve seen since Westphalia hasn’t happened by accident, and we tear down the walls of the nation-states only at great risk.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      This long period of relative predictability and peace we’ve seen since Westphalia hasn’t happened by accident, and we tear down the walls of the nation-states only at great risk.

      We have sowed the wind, and are going to need a really good combine for all the tornadoes.

    • To get people to do things, you need both ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’, just one or the other won’t work. It’s nice to envision taking a hard-line stance, but most people don’t think of where this leads. How many more people would have died on our side had we not shown mercy at the end? How nasty would the next war have been if the losers knew that extermination was the result? Germany and Japan have probably been the most successful cases of national rehabilitation in history. Perfect? Of course not. Better than the alternatives? Almost certainly.

      It’s not that I don’t understand the emotions behind your stance. My biggest despair is that people don’t realize that at some point, that’s what it will take. People don’t realize that perhaps the only thing between now and a nuclear war in the Middle East is the willingness to kill the population of Iran, of whom the majority are innocent, and that failure to understand that means it’s more likely to happen.

      It’s a testament to our moral superiority both that we don’t want to do that and that we’re still willing to do it.

      • “It’s a testament to our moral superiority both that we don’t want to do that and that we’re still willing to do it.”

        It’s a testament to our own stupidity that we’re in a position where we have to. Not to mention, our own cupidity. Too many people were beneficiaries of looking the other way, when dealing with the Nazis or the Imperial Japanese at the end of WWII. The atrocities committed by the Japanese were of an insane, and clearly dangerous cultural mindset. I don’t begrudge the populace killing Allied airmen who were part of the bombing campaign, but what went on in some of the Japanese hospitals after capture, like vivisection of the captives who’d surrendered? Pathological.

        Both Japan and Germany needed a thorough, exemplar-creating house-cleaning, from top to bottom in their societies. Yasukuni Shrine ought to be a ruin, deplored by the remaining Japanese. Germany needed to have every single opportunistic parasite and beneficiary of the Nazi regime sent to the same camps they consigned their neighbors to. They all, Japanese and German alike, signed off on what was being done in their names, some with enthusiasm, some in ignorance. There were hardly any dissenting voices that accomplished more than a few gestures of opposition, and about the only truly positive examples on the other side are men like John Rabe, Chiune Sugihara, members of the White Rose, and a sad, scant few others. That decent men and women were in such short supply is a testament to why their opposites should have been scourged from both nations.

        • As I understand it, the decisions to rebuild Germany and Japan were taken in order to use them against the Soviets. It was not “mercy” so much as realpolitik. Remember, Europe’s industrial base had been destroyed by the war and China had been taken over by Mao’s minions.

          • There’s always a price to be paid for moral expediency. Was this one worth it? In the long run, I suspect that the judgment of history will be that it wasn’t.

            I think that had we put the entire state organization of the Nazis and Imperial Japan to the sword that they deserved, the effect might have served to put the rest of the totalitarians on notice that they might not be utterly safe from judgment. Might not have swayed their actions any, but it certainly would have put the fear of God into their souls.

            Not to mention, made it a lot harder for people like the Kims to justify what they did, later on. North Korea will remain a blot on the records of both the West and the East, for a long time to come.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              The Nazi Government was destroyed. Pure and simple. The German government (of the West portion) was created under the over-sight of the Western Allies.

              Imperial Japan was destroyed pure and simple as the government that existed prior to WW2 was destroyed and a new government was created under the over-sight of the US government.

              What more would you have wanted if you were in charge of the victorious forces? Kill every man, woman and child who wore a Nazi badge? Kill everybody who was viewed as German?

              Destroy the Japanese Imperial Family? Remember, the Emperor ordered the surrender of Japan. Destroy everybody who was viewed as Japanese?

              Nobody that matters in Germany wants a return to Nazi Government.

              While the Japanese have somewhat “white-washed” their actions during WW2, I don’t think anybody who matters wants a return to the type of nation Japan was prior to WW2.

              How would doing what you appear to want have mattered to the Soviet Union or Red China? Unless of course, you wanted the US after destroying Germany & Japan to start a Hot War with the Soviet Union and Red China?

              I can’t help but think of Dark America.

              http://www.changingthetimes.net/samples/ww2/dark_america.htm

              • Re realpolitic, remember than Patton’s proposal to re-arm the Wehrmacht panzer divisions (OK, and to use them to go grab back Hungary and Czechoslovakia from the Soviets) was basically what actually happened a few years later when West Germany was rearmed by the allies (i.e. the US). He was just ahead of his time realizing that the Soviets were not Friendly Uncle Joe, and the west would need German divisions againts what the Soviets could put up.

                Also re Kirk’s original point – As I undertand it that’s basically what the Soviets actually did in their zone and across Eastern Europe: Hunt down and either execute or send off to a slower death in Siberia anyone who was a Nazi party member. Not sure that made any of the “lesson” impacts in the end that Kirk is looking for on their behalf.

                I also must admit to a bit of puzzlement re the problem that he’s trying to solve with that postwar cleansing: The Germans holding the Greek Debt over the Greek government’s heads? Their disinterest in militarily backing up the Ukraine? The disdain of H&K for actual customers? The Japanese facing off with the Chinese on maritime claims? Or their finally stepping up to more regional responsibilities by reinterpreting the constitution we wrote for them?

                In the end it’s todays leadership that impacts todays problems – if Putin were a second coming of George Washington instead of a redo of Sulla without the military skills, none of the troubles around the perimeter of Russia would be happening, with or without the bloodiness of the early Soviet occupation behind the Iron Curtain. If the students revolt in China had caused the Party to be thrown out of power, the nationalist stuff they are doing now (Hey: nationalist socialism, with profit motive – now where have we seen that before?) to mask their internal problems would likely not be happening. If the kids in the streets of Iran a few years ago would have received any backup whatsoever, the whole Iran Deal thing would likely be moot. And overall if the US had not been so terminally feckless around the world since 2007, most everything but the Grexit stuff would likely not be happening now, with or without any western emulation of Joe Stalin’s playbook in West Germany.

                • Or to put it more succinctly: “At this point what difference would it have made?”

                • I have been told that a great many former Nazi troops joined the French Foreign Legion and fought valiantly in Vietnam; it was only when the french decided to deploy their own citizens as soldiers that the tide turned against them.

                  • I don’t think that’s what quite happened in Indochina, although there are some who have made that claim, notably the Legionnaires in question.

                  • clark e myers

                    As always I’d say it’s a good deal more complex. FREX many of the soldiers in the dock for Oradour-sur-Glane appeared in French army uniforms. Both French citizens and past serving members of Das Reich SS Panzer division. French citizens by virtue of being from Alsace and drafted by each side at different times. Twice liberated as William Tenn used the term.

                    Mostly I go along with the notion that as with Mountbatten’s rush to get out of the Indian sub-continent the Communist oriented post-war French society tore itself apart over French Indo China and could not bring itself to support troops of any background. Perhaps the society really was rotten. The female nurses at Dien Bien Phu were acclaimed as heroic. The comfort women not so much.

                    More interesting yet I think is Jane Fonda’s admission, framed rather differently, that from her time in France and her association with Roger Vadim it was unconscionable to oppose Communism in Viet Nam and intolerable that America succeed where France had failed.

    • The Thuggees were an organized group. A bunch of schoolkids whose only crime was being in the same classroom together forty minutes a day isn’t.

      • “A bunch of schoolkids whose only crime was being in the same classroom together forty minutes a day isn’t.”

        What discussed group fits that description? And, before you say “Hitlerjugend”, you might want to review the history of that organization a bit. There’s a reason the SS division recruited from their membership had a bit of a negative reputation.

        Again, because you fell for propaganda and became a mad-dog fanatic member of a religious cult or political organization is no reason for me to grant mercy–Especially considering the activities these organizations got up to. The Hitler Youth who participated in Kristalnacht activities, and who institutionalized the humiliation dehumanization of German Jewry aren’t good examples of people deserving of such, at all.

        • What discussed group? Go up to the top of the comments and I describe my personal experiences thereof.

          • If you seriously want to argue participation in the Hitlerjugend organizations as being somehow “innocent”, you need to do a lot more to do so than hold up a few examples of people who were only involved on the periphery. The organization existed from the early 1930s on, and despite the self-serving whitewashing that’s gone on since, it had a hell of a lot of involvement and responsibility for what went on in Germany later on. I’ve seen the pictures of smiling Hitler Youth “helping” elderly Jewesses mop the streets with urine they thoughtfully provided themselves, read the accounts of what they did, and paid attention to the self-reported things they did in German society. There is no way that it can be said that the average German had no way to know what sort of organization they’d created, or what it was doing. This weren’t “secret societies” operating in the darkness; they did what they did openly, and documented it with great pride.

            The best that you can say for the involuntary ones that got dragged in is that they were morally weak, but most of them make these claims of objection only now, once the involvement is an embarrassment. Would their fine moral objections even exist, had the Germans won? Or, would they have been there, with both hands out and open, gleefully accepting the largesse resultant from the crimes committed in their names?

            I’m sure most of these fine, moral people would have been shedding tears, as they whipped their Slavic serfs, out on the high plains of the new homelands their silent support of criminal behavior earned them.

            I’ve got no damn pity for any of them. Understanding, yes. Pity? Willingness to look the other way, and characterize their conduct as somehow “OK”? Nope, not a bit of it.

            Just like I don’t have any pity for the “go-along-to-get-along” crew we have running things in most of the US, right now–Their comeuppance is out there, waiting like Nemesis. And, when it comes? I’m just going to watch and laugh, as another case of history repeating itself takes place before my eyes. I do warn you, however–I’ve already got my eye out for a nice job as a camp guard, and I’m going to be laughing my ass off at the SJW types when they encounter the reality they’re trying so hard to bring into being. Should be entertaining to watch, from one of the towers, I’m thinking. One has to remember, there’s always an opening for “efficient thug” when these regimes happen, and if I can’t get out in time, or there’s nowhere to go, well… Guarding the walls these morons helped build isn’t a terrible option.

            • If you seriously want to argue participation in the Hitlerjugend organizations as being somehow “innocent”, you need to do a lot more to do so than hold up a few examples of people who were only involved on the periphery.

              No, because you just had to remove those who were in the periphery.
              That means that involvement isn’t enough to prove guilt.

    • Nyet.
      Kill everyone who actually killed someone off the field of battle, or ordered it done. Demand restitution from the rest. That will get the point across.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      What? The Thugee were just a myth the evil colonialist British (pardon the redundancy) encouraged so they could oppress the peace-loving Indian people who, being Eastern, have a purely peaceful religion that has never done harm to anyone anytime.

      Seriously, I’ve heard people argue this.

  18. “Which brings us to the current brawl in SF/F and the wider culture. There’s a very large swathe, of Western society that has regressed, though they call it progress, to the idea that one should deliberately punish all members of a group for the actions, real or imagined, of a few members, and to the idea that because members of a group are overrepresented in a particular area that it is a deliberate choice on the part of the group, rather than an accident of history.” This would justify “us” for killing off the SJWs, by their own reasoning. They might want to reconsider that.

    • It’s a good idea to review where all this stuff comes from, in the first place.

      Read Mein Kampf, and the mass of other Nazi/Communist-related literature, and you’ll find cases aplenty where their words are echoed in the natterings of the SJW types. Which is why it’s a mistake to take them lightly–At the very least, they are setting the stage for future abuses and atrocities. Because of that, I’m not planning on lifting a finger when the inevitable occurs, and they’re being hunted through the streets like dogs. Instead, I’ll take a nice sinecure job with the nasties that they enabled, and do what I can from inside the system to bring it down, should things go that far.

      Given history, I don’t think it will. We’ve got a habit of stepping right up to the abyss, and then walking back from it, whether it was Wilson’s BS during the war, or FDR’s excesses. I am planning on taking notes about who involves themselves in supporting the SJW types, however, and behaving accordingly.

    • Indeed. Which is why SJWs are utterly clueless.

  19. This may have been linked before (I know it’s been discussed), but I ran across it today at americandigest.com: http://askthebigot.com/2015/07/23/the-story-of-moira-greyland-guest-post/

  20. clark e myers

    I’ll go with Cory Ten Boom on dealing with Nazi remnants after the war ended – I find her reasons persuasive.

    I have a good friend whose father in law was Waffen SS – a Holodomor survivor; and that’s all the excuse I need to hear. For my money there are enough (and it doesn’t according to some accounts take that many) who have the label but are none the less righteous to spare the rest. As I repeat every time the subject comes up I’ve known only one self avowed dedicated true believer Nazi in my life – and he had a road to Damascus event when Americans saved him at bayonet point from being beaten/stoned to death by French civilians. As he explains it what did I know? I left school at eleven to be apprenticed as a baker and we went from success to success. Yeovil-Thomas, aka The White Rabbit threatened to testify for the defense if Otto Skorzeny were to be tried for doing the same things he himself had done for the Allied cause.

    I think Watch on the Rhine was largely commentary on the way German society rebounded from the American victory and resented the Americans for continuing to risk American lives to protect German freedoms and social order. Americans went from being honored as the candy bombers who in a very real sense saved Germans from themselves to being regarded as legitimate targets of the Red Army. The wives of senior Americans went from living high on the rewards for passing out Hershey bars to eventually really needing body guards in public.

    On the other hand I agree with and would support Patton’s action in circular filing charges against a sergeant with a light machine gun who said of SS camp guards that they waited too late to surrender. That is kept the camp running until the last minute when the guards could have withdrawn or surrendered to bring camp operations to an end earlier if only by a few days. In an interview years later the killer as I recall said in effect when I see them in Hell they won’t have to ask why they are there. Kill them all G-d will know his own/sort them out was an excuse for claiming property not saving souls.

    I wasn’t there but a friend of mine whose primary function was order of battle intelligence but also enemy graves registration described the aftermath of Marines overrunning a comfort woman station and dealing with the little brown women as they had dealt with the men. He said the last letters home and diaries recovered from the enemy were much the same those recovered from the Allied dead. When I was in Europe in the late 1950s it was with real pleasure that folks, especially flyers, discovered they had been fighting each other as young men.

    Myself I don’t have any answers to the questions raised in the comments here and so I find them futile if infuriating though some of the fury be righteous anger.

    I’d like to see and would appreciate any references to current theories of social justice as the heirs of John Rawls “theory of distributive justice and philosophical pragmatism’s theories of mind, self and society” e.g. A Sociological View of Obama’s World of Social Justice Anne Wortham Illinois State University.

    I’d have thought that after Nozick, Rawls would be seen as, at best, well meaning but incomplete and misguided. But the SJW (or perhaps SJB for bullies) have internalized values of fair and just that make no sense to me. Quoting Obama that government systems are “to pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution” should be as dead, and as damned, as from each according to his means; to each according to his needs Why is not the horse seen as long dead?

    • Don’t mistake what I’m saying here for a “Kill them all…” sort of diatribe.

      The crap that I’m most angry about is the way that oh-so-many party apparatchiks survived the transition between regimes, and prospered. The most enraging one was a guy who’d parlayed his early membership in the Nazi party into a series of highly remunerative jobs, and ended the war in control of a number of former properties belonging to Jews. He ingratiated himself with the Allied government, turning his coat with great alacrity. The German who recently hit the news for having all those hoarded artworks could have been him, and he prospered in the post-war period just as efficiently.

      Those are the people I’m talking about being in need of one-way tickets to the camps, not little girls forced into the Madchen by circumstance. There were SS men who were like Larry Thorne, simple fighting men who wound up where they were by sheer chance; then, there were men who knew the full writ, and were completely on board for the cleansing to come, and turning the Ukraine into serf-land for German fantasies. The first, I’d forgive and demand penance from, as well as acknowledgment of what they’d supported. The second? A bullet in the back of the skull, or death, screaming in a shower, surrounded by the naked bodies of their fellows as the gas comes in.

      Their families, I’m not so sure about. The cancer should have been excised, but not drawing the line at the wife and kids, I’m uncertain about. How innocent were they, one wonders, growing up on the grounds of a death camp? How on God’s green earth could a moral, decent woman follow a husband after seeing what he was engaged in? The utter lack of any moral awakening among many of these people after the war leads me to believe that they probably should have had their lives ended right alongside the criminal bastards they were married to and descended from, especially when I hear the little bastards saying shit like “We didn’t kill enough…”.

      In the world I’d have left behind, the idea of the son of an SS Mann saying something like that would be unthinkable, mostly because the majority of those human lice would be dead, dead, dead. What others were left wouldn’t say that crap out of a well-placed sense of fear, and a sure and certain knowledge that they were only alive because someone showed them the mercy their parents showed none of their victims.

      Europe is going to go through another cataclysm, and the root reason that it will is going to be at least partially traceable back to the fact that they didn’t deal thoroughly enough with the last bunch to try this kind of thing out. It’s not tit-for-tat, its a hygienic measure meant to eliminate this sort of behavior, much the way you eliminate a diseased herd that’s contracted hoof-and-mouth disease in agriculture. There aren’t any other real means of dealing with this sort of contagious insanity, because if you leave little pockets of it to fester, fester it will, and it will come back on you.

      Personally, I hope Europe gets through the impending chaos without having the horrors happen again, but I don’t see them doing anything that is likely to head off the results of decades of bad policies. The result is going to make Weimar look like a cakewalk, and what comes from that will probably make the Nazi interregnum look positively benign.

      • Makes me wonder about that guy with the Panther tank in his basement. A Panther tank in brand new condition.

        • In America there are probably hundreds of private citizens who own tanks. I used to know a guy who had a dozen of them. They have organizations and shows, and back before the internet they had newsletters where they traded parts and information.

  21. Group punishment slides easily into blood libel with a little elbow grease…

  22. Sarah, the “No just war” idiots get it from *ignoring the context fine passage. “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” IIRC, it as Thomas Aquinas who came up with it, and showed “chain of theological thought that it is based on.” *No one* else has done any such thing to refute it.
    The “context” is: A) He was talking about _soldiers_ of that era; B) soldiers were paid _very_ little, beyond *basic* food and clothing; C) “spending money,” and extra money was from looting (stealing from populations). The _only_ two differences between Roman soldiers and robbers, were: Soldiers were organized and had uniforms; robbers usually didn’t have either. (It wasn’t until 1700’s? that soldiers got more than minimal pay.)
    Later on, Christ says, when sending the “Apostles” (72, IIRC) on missions, (Paraphrased). “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Also, Peter has a sword, and uses it, but is _criticized_ for hurting the Chief Priests guard, *not* for _having_ one.

  23. Watched the Showtime version of “Harrison Bergeron” with my high school age son. Had a discussion a few days later about how to design a society that got better and better over time. (As opposed to enforcing average.) Suggested that starting in kindergarten, at the end of each year you test every kid, both physically and mentally. Kill the bottom 1% in each category. You wouldn’t be killing 2% because there’d be overlap. At HS graduation time, you’d pretty much have eliminated a good part of the left side of the bell curve. Couple that with the death penalty for a significant portion of crimes, regardless of age, and you’d eliminate a good deal of crime. And, of course, like China today, defective kids don’t leave the delivery room. 4 or 5 generations of culling like this, what shape would your nation be in, especially if others weren’t doing the same?

    He discussed the idea at school. A few of his friends said, to his horror, “Hey, that would work!” Utilitarian philosophy is how large scale evil spreads. Propose to eliminate the weak, or the troublemakers, or whatever group is to blame for societies problems, and some people will see as good. Get enough of them to go along, you’ve got Nazi Germany or Pol Pot’s killing fields in Cambodia.

    • You’ve just described S.M.Stirling’s Draka.

    • The problem is defining defective. And certain things, like creativity, don’t test well.

      • Two words to refute: Winston Churchill, who was in the bottom 1% of his classes for most of his life.

        • Would Churchill have stayed in that percentile, had his life depended on better performance…?

          Laziness is often the result of not having an effective goad. Elimination of poor performance via culling is probably going to prove pretty effective…

    • > test

      Of course, most societies would be testing for compliance, obedience, gullibility, and lack of curiosity. Kids who couldn’t meet those standards would be the ones killed.

      The school system is set up to make followers, not leaders. And beleivers, not thinkers.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Beyond the evil, it won’t work. Scientific management of human society always ends in a mess.

      In this case, it would involve killing a minimum of one in eight, many before you could say anything about what they would be like as adults. I’ll excuse the parents, otherwise, anyone who says they absolutely know what a child will become as an adult is a liar.

      http://justbarkingmad.com/?p=13346

      • To wit, younger son, in his evaluation from KG came back with “Marshall has a vocabulary in the lowest 2 percentile. With time and effort, if you encourage him, he might lead a normal life.”
        Said kid, in fact, refused to do anything for teachers because, as he told me, hands waving “They patronize me!”
        At 20 he’s taking three Engineering degrees concurrently, has won science fair prizes, and reads voraciously. He’s in the top 25% of his class, consistently, which for engineering and overstuffed schedule is not easy.
        BUT under this system he’d get killed at 3.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I was rushed and my math was in error. One percent per year over a total of 12 years leaves 88.6 something percent survivors. Seven in eight surviving would be 87.5%.

        It may be that I’ve been reading a lot of Xianxia lately, but the result of the scheme seems pretty clear. If one in eight are going to be killed, three, five, maybe even seven of them are going to get together and make sure they know which one is going to be killed. It’d be easy to bully someone into testing poorly. The trick would be to keep the goat from suiciding just prior to the test, leaving someone else in line. Survivors of such a selection process would probably be fairly nasty, and take the habits to their later lives.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Well, would it be known that one of eight would be killed or would the “one of eight” be the possible average for the society?

          My thought is that one school class might have half failing the test while another school class might have nobody failing the test.

          While I doubt that it would be a “nice” society but it might not be as bad as than if it was guaranteed that one of eight of an age group would be killed.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            If it is known that the distribution varies between schools, then it is certainly rigged and people will behave accordingly.

            Whoever is fixing things is the top class, their toadies are the middle, and both will be heavily invested in keeping the lower class goats down.

            If someone gets to school age, there was some familial or parental investment in them. These investors want a return, and immensely dislike being arbitrarily deprived of their investment. Realistically, 10-20% mandatory losers might be at the level where people rebel and put a stop to the practice. Furthermore, a society can sustain those losses in males, but probably not in females.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              My thought was “Is it one of eight no matter how well the class/individual did or was it possible for an entire class to pass?”.

              If his classmates thought that Joe Blow was good enough to pass and he was still killed, then there would be a different reaction than if “everybody” knew Joe Blow didn’t have a chance.

  24. Mona Charen has been looking into the myth of campus are violent sociopaths, serial rapists who “terrify and coerce their victims into submission” and discovered David Lisak, the author of the study providing the basis of this, is a wholly objective scientist:

    “Gender – the division of human qualities into two mutually exclusive categories, each associated with a biological sex is central . . . to the motivations for rape. . . . this gendering pervades our culture and . . . while it is purported to be founded on biological differences, it is actually a production of culture.”
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421887/serial-rapists-loose-campuses

    If you persist in dividing society into only two genders, male and female, you are abetting rape culture.

    It must be true: he’s an associate professor.

    • The one campus serial rapist I know of, verified, police files, the whole nine yards, 1) was not a student, 2) struck college girls living off campus, 3) cased their apartments and broke in by unlocked windows and doors while they were sleeping. Which kinda terminates most of the Office of Permanent Alarm slide-shows right there.

      • I don’t know that you can call him a “campus” serial rapist, but the most famous rapist of college age girls, Ted Bundy, most certainly did not fit the supposed “profile.”

  25. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    Interesting take on why the Holocaust happened and group justice. it’s said that Justice is wanting what you deserve and mercy is not getting it.

  26. In support of lightening things up a little:

    Courtesy Power Line’s Week In Pictures.

  27. Great post, Sarah. Have you read Jonah Goldberg’s Aug 1, 2015 column: ” The Twitter Mob: Society’s New Mechanism for Enforcing Morality”. He agrees with you.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421879/social-media-shaming-morality-history