Death of Chocolate Chips — a blast from the past from May 2012

Death of Chocolate Chips — a blast from the past from May 2012

As writers, particularly writers dealing in the shady side of “literature” where we can employ magic or magical “future science” we are told over and over and over “there must be a price” and “there must be a cost.”

It is amazing to me, now and always, how many of us forget that in real life.  And how many of us forget it in books, too, when we’re not dealing with magic or magical future science.

I made a post thanking those who served for Memorial Day.  And of course, right on cue, like something rehearsed – which it is, since it’s the response drilled into most of us who attended any school system in Europe, the US or possibly most of the world – someone came in to say that war doesn’t secure peace.

I will confess this is true.  No war, as yet, has managed to secure ever lasting peace.  Fortunately or unfortunately, though, I live in the real world and I study real history.  Oh, yeah, also I’m human and I live among humans and know (and rather like) the breed.  The only way to secure lasting peace is to kill all of humanity.  We managed to avoid this during the cold war, and I hope will continue to avoid it in these our fraught times.

But we’ve been taught Word War I was the war to end all wars.  We’ve been taught it didn’t work and therefore all war is futile, all war should be avoided and also that because we can’t secure lasting peace from the smallest kindergarten to the largest nation state, we are a worthless species and should go voluntarily extinct and leave the Earth to the peaceful species who don’t kill each other, don’t kill their own members and don’t engage in cannibalism.

There might be a species or two that follow those rules.  Possibly leaf molds.  But it’s entirely possible we ONLY think that because we don’t know enough about leaf molds.  Desmond Morris made a lot of sales out of his thesis that only humans were “the killer ape” and that, in fact, that was our edge over other primates, let alone all other animals.  Turns out the thesis was beautiful, cogent, and what people wanted to hear.  (Waggles hand.)  It was also completely and thoroughly wrong.

War – and fighting – does not (and won’t if we’re lucky) bring about eternal peace.  But it does, for a time, secure peace in a part of the world, or a corner of kindergarten.  Do the right people always win?  Oh, please.  SOMEONE wins, and that is usually enough for peace to last a little while, and for humans to go about lawful occasions and improve their lot.  One thing is sure, though, if your tribe won’t fight; if your tribe won’t stand its ground; if your tribe won’t defend itself, you will not last.  It doesn’t take two sides to engage in a war, just as it doesn’t take two sides to get in a fight in kindergarten.  If you think that it’s because your delusional kindergarten teachers drilled it into you.  And they were wrong.  A war is still a war if it’s a massacre and one side kills the other.  And a fight is still a fight if one of the kids is beating the other or breaking the other’s stuff.  It’s still not peace.

Outside of sitcoms, certain – largely unbelievable – books and the more tendentious type of movies, the word for “pacifist” is “dead” and the word for “peaceful” is “leaves no descendants” and no one, no one EVER managed to secure their side by bathing the enemy in loving kindness.  The first person to mention Gandhi in this context will get kicked around the block until they can’t sit for a week.  Gandhi engaged in psychological warfare, turning British morals and beliefs about themselves ON themselves.  If he’d tried to use that on any other enemy, or even on the British of a hundred years earlier, he’d have been a smear on the pavement.  This is exemplified by his belief that the Jews should have marched into the ovens to “deprive the Nazis of this victory.”  This shows either he was a dirty anti-Semite, or a fool, completely unaware of what made his strategy work or that it wasn’t so much he’d chosen to be peaceful but that the British Empire had chosen to go quietly into that good night.  Which is what happens when a civilization chooses “peace”

World War I might have been the last huzzah of Western aggression – or not – and it might have been largely a waste of time and young men.  Or not.  These things take place in response to mechanisms we, as mere individuals aren’t fully conscious of.  WWI was as much a response to changing technology and upheavals in culture as to territorial aggression.  We don’t know the truth about WWI.  We won’t for centuries, if then.

Meanwhile, even if you accept it was the “war of the defeated” and that there was nothing good come of it, taking from it the absolute pacifist vision made WWII far more lethal than it should have been and the “War never solved anything” crowd has blood on their hands from the many flares up in the cold war.  The Soviet Union used your guilt and your vision of peace to do as they would.  And if you think that is good, then you have not ever studied what happened under Soviet rule.

See, the thing is, we are in the end mammals, not archangels.  We evolved to be aggressive – to be the most aggressive, to survive.  But – you say – must it always be that way?  Will things not get better?

Things have got better.  I always laugh at the idiots who think taking us back to rural times will make us nicer, or that “noble savages” are  peaceful.  While the Nation State has made possible the large-scale abattoir in the valley of the Somme, higher civilization (defined as more prosperous and less tribal and land-dependent) translates into less war for each individual in their locale.   In small rural and tribal societies, war was pervasive and “distributed”.  War was what happened when boys from a village went courting a girl from another village.  War was what happened when a village’s gods wanted victims.  War was what happened when you wanted the crop the other village just brought in.  And while it might involve only half a dozen men on either side, war could devastate both villages – and did.  Peace was by far the exception.

It took big bad sons of b– babies with large weapons and the ability to quiet most of these little conflicts (not all.  In insular societies, some still go on.  It did when I was little.)  There is a reason Pax Romana is part of the vocabulary.  Romans didn’t achieve that peace with aqueducts, law or schools – though they had all those – but because they had bigger lances and a better organized army.

And that is because we are animals, not archangels.  Even good people – genuinely good people, with the best intentions – can convince themselves it would be best for everyone if only that wheat field weren’t in the hands of bad people, but in the hands of good people.  To be human is to be flawed. To be human is to be able to lie to yourself.  To be human is to crave power, even when you tell yourself that it’s not power but what’s best for everyone, and that you’re doing it for the hungry, and really, you’re the good guy.

Will there come a time when we study war no more?  I don’t know.  My religion requires me to believe so, but it will take a miracle, and miracles are the prerogative of the divine and nothing the human mind can understand.

Until then we’re stuck in this here world, where the choice is NEVER between death or chocolate chips.  The choice is always between the least of two evils.  And sometimes, yes, you have to fight for the least of two evils.

There is no perfect state and no perfect peace short of heaven.  We humans must always fight – and often die – for the best we can get.  Fools think this makes us a terrible species.  I think it makes us admirable and it makes those who give their lives for their tribe and their homeland admirable – and it makes even more admirable those who put their lives on the line for principle: for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Because if that miracle is ever to occur and make war really rare, I”m sure those principles will be at the bottom or it.

Thank you again to all who risk their lives and their peace that we might enjoy peace.  And those who think that peace can be bought with pretty words and no effort, think shame on yourselves.  Those who are kind to the cruel always, inevitably, are cruel to the kind.  Those who aren’t willing to defend the ones being attacked always end up with blood on their hands.  And those who think that fighting isn’t worth it because no peace is eternal have consigned themselves to the moral nursery, where it’s possible to purchase something for nothing.

And those who write about the world that way are propagating lies and worsening suffering.  If there’s ever a choice between death or chocolate chips, of course I’ll pick chocolate chips.  Unfortunately that choice has yet to happen even once in the history of the world.  But maybe you’ll get lucky.  Maybe tomorrow it will rain ice cream.  In the meantime, keep your weapons sharp and stop telling lies to the young.

121 thoughts on “Death of Chocolate Chips — a blast from the past from May 2012

  1. When some know-nothing tells you, “War is never the answer!” you should always respond, “That really depends on what the question is, doesn’t it?” War has demonstrably been the answer at various times in history. And the refusal to fight a war when it was needed has demonstrably been the wrong answer at times.

    1. I parked at a mall once and noticed two cars parked next to each other, both bearing bumper stickers. One had sticker proclaiming “War is not the answer” while other bore the sticker that said “Jesus is the answer.” My internal smart aleck couldn’t help but start thinking of questions for which those bumper stickers are inappropriate. “Who is responsible for [insert atrocity here]?” and “How was the [insert military force here] stopped?” were among the leading examples.

      1. There used to be a strip mall in the next town. Of two adjacent businesses, one was a butcher shop and its neighbor was for prosthetic and amputee supplies…

          1. That actually makes sense seeing as the purpose of the stuff sold at Victoria’s Secret is to get a guy to stick around to pay for the baby stuff.

        1. There’s a strip mall near me with a veterinarian’s office sandwiched in between a leather goods store and a Korean restaurant.

    2. The one I see is “War Is Not The Answer”, to which I say “War is not THE answer, but it is one answer”.

    3. It is right answer for their beliefs. But not for anyone else if failing to act won’t inconvenience them. Majority of these folks would call for Texas to glow if they even hinted at secession.

      1. Luckily for Texas, most of the folks manning the nukes are of decidedly different opinions from those. (I was one of those nuke crewmen, back in the day.)

        1. Of course, the last time Texas seceded, the response was pretty drastic. That it took several states with it may have been a contributing factor, but who’s to say that would not happen again.

          1. Thankfully, technology has advanced. This time Texas can just send a wave of drones to take out the White House and the Capitol.

            1. Or wait until winter and threaten to turn off heating oil pipelines to the Northeast if attacked.

              It wouldn’t surprise me if. Texas already has plans for joining the nuclear club if necessary. Commissioner Smitherman already let the cat out of the bag that the Texas utility commission had done work on secession contingencies. Texas has asked for its gold reserves to be delivered and is building its own depository to hold them in-state. Texas also is home to a facility for putting to sleep unloved nuclear weapons.

        2. While working at a used book store, I came across a book in the world history section titled “The Texas-Israeli War.”
          It was a fictional novel that had made its way to the history section. But, on first seeing the cover, my first thought was “Why would Texas go to war with Israel?”
          That was my first impression before realizing the book had been misshelved.

    4. When some know-nothing tells you, “War is never the answer!” you should always respond, “That really depends on what the question is, doesn’t it?”

      Da bin ich mir nicht so sicher!

  2. There is an observation in recent days that what it takes to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun. The progressive left desperately wish to refute this, but so far cannot. In every case of mass shooting or other acts of violence upon the public, the violence ends when the perpetrators are met with credible force, usually firearms wielded either by cops, military, or armed civilians. At that point the instigators are captured, killed, or take their own lives to avoid capture.
    Given any serious knowledge of even a small portion of history it’s not hard to believe that this concept scales up to apply quite nicely to conflicts between nations.

      1. Agreed. There is a philosophy that in such a situation, you’re already dead. So anything you do to stop the shooter can’t be any worse. You might get shot and die. Then again, you’re already dead, so why not try? You might get shot and live. You might get shot and die, but other people live because you fought. You might get shot *a lot* and die, but other people use the shooter’s focus on you as a distraction and pummel him into meat chunks with whatever’s handy.

        If there are multiple shooters, they might even shoot each other as they try to get you. Some people could escape in the ensuing chaos. They’re trying to kill people anyway, so if some of those bullets happen to perforate another bad guy, they would at least lose a little kinetic energy on the way and anyone subsequently hit may live.

        If you manage to close with the shooter but are already shot, you might manage to drag his gun arm down for a few critical seconds. Those seconds might be life- other folks, but maybe even yours too.

        Humans aren’t herd animals, but we respond to example. If you act, chances are, others may well act as well. Fear spreads like wildfire, but courage has its own siren call that resonates in the essential American soul. That response may be a simple “Aw HELL NO.”

        It’s making the best of a bad situation.

        1. Ya. I remember stating that after pulse. Or look at that train attack in France last year

          1. Yes, Flight 93 was on my mind when I wrote the comment. Entire plane full of ordinary people who suddenly realized it wasn’t just a hijacking and that staying passive and cooperating was going to get them killed anyway. So armed with belts, tray tables, and whatever else they could grab quickly they took on five dedicated Jihadis armed with box cutters.
            And that brave group of America’s finest unorganized militia succeeded in causing the bad guys’ primary mission to fail. We’ll never know whether their target was Congress or the White House, but a scar on the ground in a Pennsylvania field stands mute tribute to what Americans can do in the crunch.

            1. The visitor center at the Flight 93 memorial has large viewing windows overlooking the site. The sills have tissue boxes sitting on them. This is a good thing.

              (A bad thing would be designing the formal walk down to the crash site in a crescent-like shape. Really, what were they thinking?)

              1. To tread their symbol under our feet as we remember our heroic dead. Probably not the intention, but it will do.

                1. It was intentional. Like putting up the mosque in a building hit by debris from the Twin Towers. Robert Spencer and several other folk brought those ‘memorials’ to light. The crescent pointed toward Mecca and looked like the crescent moon and star part of …it’s late: i think it was Turkey’s flag?

  3. Death of Chocolate Chips? Well, they are carb/sugar heavy so they could be a contributing factor. Or there could be many, many pounds of them falling onto someone.

    1. Wouldn’t that be death BY chocolate chip?

      I thought death OF Chocolate Chip would be a tragic fate befalling one of the M&Ms’ children.

    2. I just think of most of these people like that insufferable girl in Wonka. Wanting end without using means.

    3. At first, I thought it was “Dearth of Chocolate Chips,” to which I must respond, is there an “enough” when it comes to chocolate? Or is the answer always “just a bit more…”

  4. I’m glad this brought up WWI because the subtext of Soviet propaganda in the West was that there was no real difference in either side. What with the Holocaust and Nanking and the Bataan Death March, you can’t easily make that claim about WWII. Ah, but WWI is a bit different, maybe because it happened when those alliances that were supposed to prevent war ended up causing a big one, and it’s easy to point to it and claim all war is futility.

    Notice that they never get into a discussion of just wars. That’s the last thing they want because to do is to admit that all wars are not the same, and if all wars are not the same, then the implication that there is never a real difference between sides will not always hold true.

    1. I’ve always seen WW1 as the result of a stopped up pressure valve. Tensions built and eventually it blew.

      1. That’s part of it. A lot of the scholarship that has emerged since 2014 points to Russia looking for a war to break Prussia and Austria and eliminate that threat once and for all. Thus goading the Serbs into doing in Archduke Franz Ferdinand (not that he was the smartest soul to begin with, but . . .), calling for mobilization before Germany, France, or Austria-Hungary, and a few other things. There was a sense that Russia and Purssia were surrounded by enemies and needed to break loose one way or another. Instead all Dade County broke loose and nothing ended the way it was supposed to.

        1. Fick. If Czarist Russia caused WWI and the USSR caused WWII, the implications for the future are troubling.

          1. And not to excuse Japan, but the Russo-Japanese War basically started because the Russia was playing hardball and Japan more-or-less decided it was only a time before hostilities broke out, so they might as well get the first blow in.

            1. The Russo-Japanese War is what bequeathed us the phrase “A Short Victorious War.” The Tsar’s Foreign Minister coined that phrase as they were looking for something to distract the mob away from ideas of revolution. They decided on Japan as the target thinking they’d be a push over; but we all know how that ended up.

              Because plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose seems to apply to Russian history over the past century even more than history as a whole, it’s thought that the Chechen War was a means by which Boris Yeltsin could elevate a relatively unknown guy by the name of Vladimir Putin to the national stage in preparation to be elected President of the Russian Federation.

    2. One way WWI is different is that the elites desperately DESPERATELY need to distract folks from the core lesson; elites cannot be trusted, spcially if their processs are not open for inspection by the public. Elite people who had gone to all the right schools blundered into the war, blunderd to conduct of that war, and blundered the peace which follwee the ‘victory’ that was bought by a combnation of ‘Sweaty Colonials’ (it’s a Tom Wolfe phrase meaning Americans) and the ‘flu.

      Since the elites are trying to take over some more, this mustn’t be what folks learn fron that piece of history.

  5. Reading this (and some of the comments) reminds me of the following from David Weber’s Shadow Of Freedom

    “Why is it,” Terekhov asked conversationally, “that people like you always think you’re more ruthless than people like me?”

    The woman (she’s no lady) that he’s talking to has just told him that if he lands forces on the planet that she’ll murder prisoners.

    His response (after the above statement) is to launch a kinetic strike at her headquarters and to launch Marines forces to rescue the prisoners.

    She was “kind” enough to have her headquarters where very few civilians would be killed by the kinetic strike. 👿

    Of course, Terekhov is ruthless enough to risk the civilian deaths to take out such a nasty. 👿

  6. Gandhi engaged in psychological warfare, turning British morals and beliefs about themselves ON themselves.

    Sounds as if Gandhi was doing Alinsky before Alinsky — RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

    We know how that works against Nazis, Commies and Americans.

    1. Drat! That silly box is still there. Well, I know how to fix that. (Wheels out tool chest, oils chainsaw, positions chipper/shredder …)

    2. That’s why I call the idea of passive resistance “The Ghandi Paradox”. Unarmed civilians lying down in front of the tanks only works if your foes are decent enough to have any compunction about rolling tanks over unarmed civilians.

      1. In one of Keith Laumer’s Retief stories there is a passage which has stayed with me for decades. On the planet Retief has been assigned there is a dinosaur-type monster, Thundercrush IIRC, eating the native inhabitants. Retief’s informant comments:

        “Natives climb trees to avoid Thundercrush. Stupid natives, means Thundercrush not have to bend neck.”

        I do its applicability to your comment does not need explication.

        1. “Giant Killer,” 1965. Also collected in “Retief: Ambassador to Space” and “Retief: Emissary to the Stars.”

          1. Donkey shins. I read it when first collected into ppb and once or twice since, but not in a very very long time. Funny how some things will linger long after the story is read.

            Good grief — I cannot believe I don’t have that comic somewhere … probably in the infamous Missing Month Box.

            1. This one I am sure I have.

              Somebody needs to initiate a film franchise on Retief. Who to play the lead … Adam Baldwin? Nathan Fillion? One of the various Chris’ currently dominating Hollywood?

                1. There were only 6 Retief comics put out by Mad Dog Graphics. They’re well worth digging up, I really liked Dennis Fujitake’s artwork.

        2. I’ve seen another Retief story quote around that’s applicable.

          One of the aliens is saying something like “We’re all for peace. People in graves are very peaceful”. 👿

          1. “Peace. n. Maintenance of a state of conflict short of actual war.”

            – The Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne

      2. Well, tanks can’t see unarmed people laying down in front of them. Tanks need infantry to cover their blindspots, and unopposed infantry can grab unarmed people and truss them up out of the way. If infantry are being opposed, the unarmed folks are participating, and human decency would seem ill-relevant.

        1. Probably worked better in the days before cavalry became armored cavalry, as horses shy away from stepping on people unless they’re rigorously trained to follow their rider’s orders regardless of their instincts. I think the general paradox still applies.

        2. > infantry

          Barbara Tuchman has an amusing aside in “The Guns of August.” The (primitive, lightweight) German tanks used motorcycle outriders to scout ahead for bridges, culverts, French troops, etc.

          It didn’t take very long before the French army learned to connect “motorcycles” and “tanks.” The Germans caught on to this, and began sending out motorcycle patrols without any tanks following, herding the Frenchmen around as they withdrew to avoid nonexistent German armor.

  7. A merchant in chocolate chips tried quoting the Bible to me in order to question my belief in self defense. In return I quoted Psalms 144 to him. My spouse thought it was a Samuel Jackson moment on my part.

      1. The question is typically framed as “Will you submit?”

        Either your answer must be “Yes” or your answer must be “War.”

        Although “Molon labe” or “To the knife” will also serve.

  8. Back about fifteen years ago, I was dubious about the wisdom or effectiveness of invading Iraq, and expressed the opinion that the best of wars is always terrible. However, there are worse things.

    1. Worse than war is going in to a place, removing the strong man tyrant, and then abandoning the place before it is truly self-sustainable.

      1. This is what the Islamists were always counting on: The US would go in hot and heavy, and then not have the political will to stick things out in the long term. Seeing that the aristos in power in the US apparently don’t believe their own country is worth defending and feel more in danger from political critics at home than terrorists abroad, I’m not convinced their assessment was so utterly wrong.

  9. The problem faced by those who proclaim “War is not the answer” is that they thus invite war.

    There will always be those differences of opinion which can only be settled by force. There will always be some people demanding that “offensive” historical pictures and names be removed, or that you cannot bury that “Indian” on their Boot Hill. There will ever be those who demand to know “How will I feed my men” or declare “If God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.”.

    And the day will come, as surely as the Gods of the Copybook Headings, when you have to reply “Molom labe” or state: “Nobody throws me my own guns and says run. Nobody.”

    1. For some reason people always tend to think the Gordian Knot must be untied, and then some out-of-the-box Alexander finds a more direct solution.

      Somehow these pacifist types always end up muttering the same thing:

      “I’m supposed to mark it down whether they put it back together or not and there ain’t supposed to be but one way of doing it and he didn’t do it that way and how you gonna mark them on a thing like that.

      “But he did it completely wrong.”

    2. Tell someone that war is not worth saving your populace, economy or other and sociopaths will just walk on you. You may be not interested in war…but war is interested in you.

      1. If war is not the answer, then there can be no distinction made between Truth and Falsehood. For if one will not defend Truth, even unto war, one must bend the knee to falsehood.

  10. If they stop telling lies to the young, their tribe will not get the tactical advantage when they use the wolves to cull the sheep.

    The trick to peace (defined as absence of war) is to make war terrible. Make the rubble bounce. On both sides. The more we minimize damage the less people are against fighting so you simply have continued conflict. In the real world winning comes with breaking the enemy and replacing him. Peacenikism ignores human nature. Submit to the aggressor and he’ll want more.

    1. “Si vis pacem, para bellum”

      Many of those who want peace are unwilling to do what is necessary to procure it.

      That same lack of willingness is prevalent in numerous other aspects of their lives as well. One might go so far as to call it a (lack of) character trait.

    2. IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
      To call upon a neighbour and to say: –
      “We invaded you last night – we are quite prepared to fight,
      Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

      And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
      And the people who ask it explain
      That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
      And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

      It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
      To puff and look important and to say: –
      “Though we know we should defeat you,
      we have not the time to meet you.
      We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

      And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
      But we’ve proved it again and again,
      That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
      You never get rid of the Dane.

      It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
      For fear they should succumb and go astray;
      So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
      You will find it better policy to say: —

      “We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
      No matter how trifling the cost;
      For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
      And the nation that plays it is lost!”

          1. Don’t sweat it — he will likely recoup a good portion of it during his post-presidency speaking tour.

  11. “War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is the sooner it will be over.”

    “War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.”

    “Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.”

    William Tecumseh Sherman

    (I know some older folks from more southerly areas of our great nation might take issue with a mention of Sherman, but the man practiced what he preached.)

    1. Hitler practiced what he preached to, and was probably slightly less insane.

      Before you lionize him I suggest you become acquainted with the less savory aspects of his actions including the deliberate, self-described, conduct of genocide on two occasions: one to allow the depopulated Southern lands in Georgia and Northern Alabama to be repopulated with New Englanders and secondly the deliberate mass murder of plains Indians to ease the construction of transcontinental railroad tracks.

      1. Get a grip. Even the most hardcore Lost Cause mythologist didn’t think Sherman “depopulated” South Georgia and North Alabama (the latter of which Sherman never went through), nor did he engage in deliberate mass murder of the Plains Indians.

        1. : “We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to the extermination, men, women and children”…

          “To his brother John, Sherman wrote on September 23, 1868 that only solution to the conflict was the physical destruction of the Indian. ‘The more we can kill this year, the less will have to be killed the next war, for the more I see of these Indians the more convinced I am that they all have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers. Their attempts at civilization are simply ridiculous.’ (Athearn, 1956, p. 223)”

          As for the South, if he had sought the destruction of Southern infrastructure to end the war as you were no doubt taught that might or might not be a war crime depending on how it was done. But when he writes to advocate removing the indigenous population from the South (as he did to both his wife and to Lincoln) and repopulating it with New England stock… that is almost a textbook definition of genocide.

          1. Opinions aren’t Actions.

            Also Sarah really doesn’t like “fights” concerning the ACW and discussing the Nature of Sherman fits into that category.

  12. All true. Well said. Gandhi’s method would not work for the Jews in WWII – the British were brought down by their own values, the Germans had nothing equivalent. The results – the Indians have independence and still speak to their former occupiers – and there is a ragged but existent British Commonwealth – were due to the far fewer deaths (and the British ability to realize that the massacres they caused were disgusting).

    Civilization is costly to maintain – it is easier not to, and just impose martial law or religious law – but if we want to have if, we MUST be willing to defend it, however fuzzy that is. I like civilization, would not last two days under the other systems.

    I’m the court of last resort – but if I’m needed, I’ll be there.

    1. Even then, it wasn’t all sweetness and light, just deaths from military action in Europe being in the hundreds and thousands instead of the hundreds of thousands and millions. That is even if you start counting at 1950, after the last of the Ukrainian partisans were killed or captured by the Soviets, and the Greek Civil War wound down. Soviet-backed Communist terrorists killed many in Europe over the decades. Soviet forces invaded Hungary in 1956 (thousands dead) and Czechoslovakia (hundreds dead) in 1968. It was less than 25 years from 1968 until the Balkans blew up again.

        1. Certainly, and civil wars and I think a few border wars, in South America, as well. However, Richard’s comment was with respect to “unbroken peace in Europe.”

    2. Eh, if you mean “no wars between major powers” 1815-1866 (or 1871) might be close. Maybe. Back in the dark ages of undergrad, I was taught that the period 1815-1914 was the longest peaceful stretch in Europe, because the international wars fought on European soil during that time were so limited that they didn’t really “count”. YMMV and that’s excluding things like the 1848, Italian unification, and the Paris Commune.

  13. One of my pet hates from the ’60’s (a mindbogglingly stupid era);

    “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”

    Well, that’s great. IF you can arrange it. But if “they” give a,war and yours is the only side that doesn’t show up, then it’s 1939 all over again, and YOUR name is “Poland”.

    1. Poland, Norway, Denmark, and the Benelux countries all showed up and got defeated in short order (very short order for Denmark). In part that was because they’d not built up large-enough armies (or alliances) to defend against Germany, and in part they were so fearful of providing a pretext for invasion that they left border forces unreinforced and at a low level of alert.

          1. Yes, about two weeks in, the Soviets rolled in from the east, and still the Poles fought one for another couple weeks. It was all over before September ended.

  14. Even good people – genuinely good people, with the best intentions – can convince themselves it would be best for everyone if only that wheat field weren’t in the hands of bad people, but in the hands of good people.

    Great God in heaven. It took me three long novels (and I’m not sure I’m done) to depict that process in action. Yet as a basic of human nature, it’s unassailable.

    Probably no one has dismissed the absolute pacifists as conclusively as British fantasist Jo Walton:

    “Peace means something different from ‘stop fighting.’ These aren’t peace activists, they’re ‘stop fighting’ activists. Peace is an active and complex thing, and sometimes fighting is part of what it takes to get it.”

  15. “Peace is the name of the ideal we deduce from the fact that there have been interludes between wars.” – Jerry Pournelle

  16. I’ll add to your wit a definition from the Devil’s Dictionary:

    NON-COMBATANT, n. A dead Quaker.

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