The Insanity of History

Good morning boys, girls and dragons. It is sweet to see your glowing morning faces.

What time is it at According to Hoyt? You’re right. It’s heresy time!

My husband has long ago learned that there are places it is not safe to take me, because he just ends up dragging me out while I’m still trying to get a last zinger in at the speaker.  Yes, that has included churches. We don’t attend there anymore.  But mostly it’s lectures or movies or theater performances, where the person in charge believes we’re in need of hearing just a little more of that ol’ time (what? He’s been dead a long time. And most of his adherents are either fossilized while living or brain dead, so….) Marxist religion.

Yesterday we almost added museums to that list. It came this close. You could smell its tail when it went by.

You see we thought it was safe to go to a WWI museum.  And as you guys know I’m interested in the era. Partly because I think that’s when the wheels came of Western culture and we started skidding on dangerous ice. Without wheels. Downhill. And there’s fire at the bottom of the ravine.

In a way the visit was good — the exhibits are excellent, and we might go back because I didn’t get to look at all the guns as I would have liked to. I’m not an expert, no, but the national variations on light machine guns are fascinating, and I still have to write World War Dragon — because it solidified a) what went wrong. b) why lately — like the last three years — the history has been “tasting” as if it rhymes with WWI.

My talking back, though started with the introductory movie.

I’ve told you guys before the causes I was taught for WWI, which included fervent nationalism, militarization and idealization of the military, as well as Germany coming late to industrialization and feeling hemmed in.  That last is probably true, btw.  Though at this point I’m in no mood to give consequence to “historians” infected by Marxism and therefore prone to running headlong down stupid blind alleys towards brick walls.

I have bad news.  In the forty years since they’ve pounded that arrant nonsense into my head, they’ve added more.  To that list is now added “Social darwinism” (Talk back “Did they confuse it with the SECOND world war?”) “Which believed that evolution applied not only to organisms but to cultures and that the fittest culture would survive!” (Talk back “And you don’t? Why not? What the hell do you believe? Or are you confusing culture with race again?”) Income inequality (Talk back: “As compared to what fluff brain? ANY time before that the inequality was greater.”) And the terrible treatment of the working classes in cities (tb: “Again, compared to what? Have you been asleep while India and China industrialized?”) which led to socialism (TB: “I too love to blame socialism for just about everything. But for world war I it’s a step too far.”) which was sweeping the masses, so practically every worker was socialist (TB: Snort, Giggle “No, butt-brain. The intellectuals were socialists, and it’s not hard to recruit petty criminals and useful idiots to swell your ranks. But no. Most workers were not socialist.”) AND THEN the one that made everything click: “Imperialism. Those darn hyper nationalistic states of Europe were going to Africa and Asia and creating colonies.”  And it clicked.  Particularly since the next point in their description was about how the Balkans didn’t like being under the heel of the Austro Hungarian empire.  (Not that I blame them. I mean, for a brief time Portugal was too, several centuries back.)

And the back of my brain went CLICK.  And now I need to descend into heresy from everything you’ve been taught. Although note, I’m not going to rewrite history. I’m not one of THEM. I’m just going to challenge the way it’s been interpreted and force fed to generations of people.

There is a very stupid meme going around facebook that talks about how terrible it would be if Europe had ever been treated the way that Africa and Asia were treated, and partitioned and repartitioned at random by uncaring colonial powers.

It’s one of those that makes me faintly nauseous, (like the one that claimed the pilgrims had white privilege) because it betrays just how far our schools have gone into not teaching the kids any kind of history beyond “Europe bad” and “everywhere else good.”  It would be less criminal if they simply didn’t teach them to read and write (wait, that’s true!)

Because of course, not only was tribal, mostly pre-historic Europe partitioned more or less blindly by conquering powers: Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians. But it was then repartitioned again and again at the whim of invaders (Goths — yes, their horned helmets were all black. Someone bop the comedian on the head and drag him out in the alley, please — Ostrogoths, Swabians, Franks, Alans and only Bob knows what — he’s very learned Bob — else.)  In fact the “national” borders of Europe are no more “real” to the genetic make up of people’s than are national borders anywhere else.  They are mostly where they ended up.  The fiction that the things inside the walls are “races” or ethnicities is a creation of public schools and national poets and … well, fictionalizing historians. Something the left should be quite familiar with.

This is not to say there should be no borders — more on that later — but frankly if the rest of the world wants to have the same “inside border” cohesion as Europe what they need is not to redraw them and moan about colonialism: it’s a shameless and ruthless propaganda machine to convince school children of bullshit. That should be easy. Communists can do it.

Anyway, the point is that “colonialism” and the “unrest in the balkans” are not because of nationalism and “people becoming aware of ethnic differences” (I swear to Bob they said that. Do Historians nowadays know bloody nothing of history?) and dragging poor Darwin into that stew (fish stew. with heads in) is just purely mean.

Industrialization and the rapid change of ways of life does come into this because Man — and woman, child, infant and dragon — does not live by bread alone. Some wise Rabbi said that, and He was, as grandma would say, covered in reason (Hopefully the Reason of the Postrel era. It’s gone down hill.) I.e. men who can see time before and after their lives and whose lives are far too brief for their minds, need a narrative to fit into.

For a long, long time the narrative had been religion and a way of life.  “I farm, as did my father, my grandfather, his father etc. etc. etc.”  When you moved away from the village, where you could visit the graves of all your ancestors, you needed a narrative to be part of. Which is where nationalism and to an extent militarism fit in. (To the other extent militarism was always part of it, and now there were dime-novels talking of adventure, which is often in war or happens to military man.)

But there was real unrest at the time.  And while we know of a few where socialists spoke, etc, I don’t believe it was at all “socialist” or “Marxist” even.  I mean, look, I’m running on stories I heard from my grandparents who heard them from their parents (their being children during WWI.)  And other people’s grandparents, too, in other countries.

Oh, sure, the intellectuals loved Marx. They still do. They’re a very conservative constituency.  And the organized Marxists (which at the time flew under a number of banners, including gutting and wearing the skin of Anarchists. They also still do) were running as hard as they could to get ahead of the mobs that were getting pissy.

But the mobs weren’t getting pissy because they wanted socialism. Socialists just happened to be the only organized ones who could claim credit/responsibility/ stir things their way.

The unrest had more to do with a lot of dislocated people living in a large group than ever and running around without a narrative to fit their lives into.

But there were other things….

Glanced by in the presentation is the fact that most of the ruling class of Europe was related to Queen Victoria.  They didn’t talk about it, but here’s the thing, the other problem is that the vast empires of Europe had been vast for a long time, but not really centralized.  It’s possible Americans don’t know this, but large European countries (Sometimes you can swing a cat not needing a passport for the cat) were “one country” only in name.  The regional variations in everything from dialect to cuisine, not to mention the administration of local laws, and even local laws imposed by the local grandee made them effectively several tiny, locally-administered countries overseen/protected by an overlord.

In the nineteenth century that changed.  Not only was the ruling class running in possession of faster means of transport, and the wealth from the industrial revolution, but heaven help us, most of them had IDEAS.  (A lot of those ideas very similar to Marx’s.) They, by gum and golly were actually going to govern ALL of their holdings. Down to the smallest village.  (This had started with Louis XIV, may his name never be sufficiently damned, but in the 19th century they had the ABILITY as well as the desire to stomp on every peasant face forever.)

So what that presentation never connected (they had drunk too much Marx) but should is this:

Just before WWI people were rebelling against distant and often dogmatic rulers, who frankly didn’t know anything and cared even less about local needs and conditions.  This applied equally to European villagers and to Congo tribesmen.

And the European Elite, basically one family, was about as clued in and with it and insulated from the consequences of their bullshit as out would be world elites today.

So, yeah, they were having the equivalent of tea parties and yellow jackets outbreaks, which of course the socialists infiltrated and tried to claim — stop me when it sounds familiar — which explains what actually happened where the presentation used all sorts of passive voice “the respect for established monarchy was broken.”  Uh no.  People were sick and tired of distant rulers who didn’t get them trying to tell them how to wipe their behinds.

So yeah, things were breaking down and the ruling hierarchy found something to distract the people: a long, and bloody war.  Although to be fair, they were probably trying to grab more territory to mis-administer from afar. It just all came together in a perfect storm.

And afterward the Marxists blamed….  nationalism and the free market.  And tried to force internationalism — aka more control from afar — on people and treating people as faceless members of nations, with the guilt and victimhood ascribed to groups, not people.  And when that blew up in WWII… they doubled down.

We’re now in the middle of a massive, new revolution (Call it the digital revolution, though I don’t think that’s exactly right) in the way people live and work, and the old narrative doesn’t fit.  Unrest is breaking out all over, and the socialists, who are now, by and large the ruling elite, keep trying to appropriate it, and ascribe it to the same old same old.

If we double down and prescribe more internationalism, which they do, it might kill civilization and humanity with it.

And to be clear I am for borders.  I see the point of larger countries (commerce and military mostly) but the administration must be as local as possible.  When it comes to government it should always be as small, local and personal/adaptable as possible. Because people aren’t groups, or widgets that fit into groups, be the groups race, cultures, or nations.  Or even villages (trust me.) And because if the local government is doing something particularly idiotic, you can go and have a talk with them.  While if — oh, at random — all of Europe is governed from Brussels, you can’t even vote the bastards out, much less go and have a pointed, finger to sternum, conversation with the worst offender

What we’ve been doing for 100 years now is doing the same thing over and over again (A war? Let’s erase national barriers, and have people governed by impersonal groups far away! That will cure it!) and expecting a different result.

And we all know what that means.

If we don’t break out of this loop, we’re headed to World War Three and afterwards the socialists will try to set up ONE government for the whole of the Earth, because that will stop wars (they never heard of civil wars, the idiots.)

Let’s stop this, shall we. Do not buy the narrative. Speak up, talk back, disrupt the “accepted causes.”

Disrupt the story of the accepted causes of everything really.  And keep talk back. Because everything has been infected with Marxism. And we must drive this heresy train all the way.

Good thing it has no brakes.


386 thoughts on “The Insanity of History

  1. European Elite as one big family. Yep. And they loved to play chess, with real people. Never mind how many they got killed; they weren’t family.

    1. They also showed all the problems of sibling, or in this case, cousin squabbles.

      What brought Great Britain into the war more than Willey the Little’s need to have better toy boats than his grandmother then his uncle then his cousin.

    2. They weren’t real people, they were just subjects. Real people had family, connections, titles, or were at least married to them.

      “Start treating subjects like they’re people and you get trouble. Look at all the times those British rabble committed regicide. Or those crazy French! The whole lot are infected now; and it’s their fault we’re in this war. If they’d just rolled over and paid up like in 1871, the Kaiser’s army would be back home and telling tales in the beer halls by now.”

      1. And Gun Jesus has videos about most of the machine guns used in WWI, some with range trips too.

        a.k.a. “Forgotten Weapons.”

        1. Yes. My first thought when our gracious hostess mentioned being interested in light machine guns from The Great War was that if she didn’t know about the Forgotten Weapons channel on YouTube, somebody should put her into it.

              1. C&Rsenal has been doing WW1 weapons and while Indy was still hosting The Great War channel they did occasional live-streams where Othias went in brief on various countries’ rifles pistols etc.

      2. I know I’m late to the post but my first thought on reading the line about the WW1 LMG’s was Project Lightning and I’m glad to see you had it linked in the first few comments. 🙂 This is why I like lurking around here, you all are my kind of people.

  2. That’s a very interesting tie-together of Europe and their crazy. The only thing I’d debate is, I don’t think the WWI elite were actually trying to distract the masses from anything. As I understand it they were mostly playing power games with each other when it all blew up.

    So, they were not even aware that the masses were losing it at them at all, until everything burned.

    That would also account for the absolute distain the all leadership had for the soldiers of the Great War. It was supposed to be a glorious scuffle of old, and somehow those ruddy soldiers managed to ball it all up.

    1. One of the saddest accounts of WWI that I have read lately, was a historical series by an Englishman – the Otto Prohaska novels, about a navy officer in the Austro-Hungarian navy in the years before and during WWI. The first one is “A Sailor of Austria” wherein Otto, who was a realistic but patriotic officer reflects on his career 70 years before, as he lives out the last of his days in a retirement home in a creaky old church-run rest home, and reflects that he may be about the only one of his ilk left. He has lost everything – a career, a country, his family … everything.

    2. Subconsciously I THINK they were trying to distract the masses. Yes, they were aware. I grew up with people whose grandparents were at the periphery of this mass. (Working class girl who made good and went to the magnet schools. Because of how screwed up education — already — was most people who made it to those had private tutors and stuff.)

    3. “Those ruddy soldiers” (and the generals commanding them) had the added problem of trying to fight a Napoleonic-style war against modern arms. Didn’t work.

      Some years ago I did a deep dive into Bruce Catton’s books about the American Civil War, especially the last year or so after rifled muskets and especially repeating rifles had reached the battlefield in a big way. The similarity between the siege of Petersburg and trench warfare on the Western Front fifty years later is … uncanny. And depressing. It’s as if the European generals never even saw any accounts of the Americans’ experiences in trying to take well-defended fortifications with infantry charges, much less paid any attention to them..

      1. The issue wasn’t so much machine guns as it was the tremendous dissonance between strategic and tactical mobility. Troops could be moved to the front by rail at speed…but once they got off the train, they were on foot. And with one end of the trenches anchored at the Channel and the other at the Alps, it wasn’t possible to punch a hole in the line big enough to get the war on offense.

        1. And then toss in a few cases where the High Command slowed everything down to the speed of the slowest train (4 mph!) because that’s what the railroad administrators said they had to do. There’s a reason it was so. D-mn. Easy to rewrite the outbreak of the war so that Austria-Hungary did a lot better. There’s bloody-all no way they could have done it worse!

        2. Churchill had been a soldier; he fought in Afghanistan, among other places. And he’d been First Lord of the Admiralty in WWI. He was a freakin’ *master* of logistics. But he still squalled when they started welding up the Liberty ships around their cargos… which had, by his lights, waaay too many trucks. A complete waste of resources.

          Those trucks charged off the beachheads and slammed into France like rockets, loaded with soldiers and ammunition, moving so fast Rommel initially discounted field reports from the Atlantic Wall; then got on the radio to Hitler and the High Command; all their defensive plans had just gone up in smoke. And Churchill and the Imperial Staff were almost as surprised as Rommel when Bletchley Park delivered his messages to them… WTF, trucks? *Where?* And Churchill had actually been involved in planning of landing, but he was still blind to just how much of a game-changer the trucks could be.

          [source: Winston S. Churchill, “The Second World War”]

          “Mobility… is the key to survival.” — voiceover, “The Road Warrior”

          1. In fairness to the Europeans, those vehicles were being driven by teenage American boys and they’d never seen anything like the way teenage American boys drove.

            1. Well, the other thing was that Canada invented motorcycle blitzkrieg in WWI, but apparently nobody was paying attention except the Germans they drove over, around, and through.

              I’m going to keep saying “Canada invented blitzkrieg” for the next fifty years or so, or at least until some motorcycle WWI movie comes out and makes it a truism for all.

              1. ‘Motorcycle Blitzkrieg’ — now that’s just begging for an action movie starring Jason Statham. 😀

              2. Also American motorcycle gangs– initially the good ones, but that probably resulted in the bad ones.

                My grandfather and his buddy Lefty drove around on WWI surplus motorcycles, doing odd jobs when they needed money or a place to stay. They weren’t unusual.

                Then Lefty fell in love with a gal in one of the towns, and married her, so my grandfather hung around. Lefty and his girl only dated like a month before the wedding, so clearly it wasn’t going to last, but kids these days…..
                (60-some years, and they died in the same month.)

            2. Yes they had. In that era, automobiles were still mostly toys of the wealthy, and were driven that way. What they had to seem was that kind of driving applied to cargo.

          2. Eisenhower had a clue about the importance of trucks, at least partly due to a road trip he took back in 1919

            I’ve also heard that American soldiers (a) knowing how to drive, and (b) knowing how to fix breakdowns was an important factor when German soldiers often lacked these skills.

            1. German soldiers often lacked those skills because they didn’t need those skills. Until the last year or so of WW2, the German Army’s infantry divisions still made extensive use of horse-drawn vehicles. Only the Panzer units were fully mechanized. The “everything on wheels” approach of the US Army was something entirely new on the Western Front in 1944.

              Regarding the Red Ball Express, a little-remembered fact about that is that the large majority of the Express drivers were black. I can’t speak to how well they drove, as I wasn’t there, but “support” roles like that were about the only way black troops were allowed to serve anywhere near the front lines. It was a perfect chance to show what they could do if given a chance, and they grabbed the opportunity in both hands and didn’t let go.

              1. The Wehrmacht was railroad-to-horse for supply up until they didn’t need actual logistic supply lines because they were fighting in retreat inside Germany – by which time they didn’t have any fuel for mechanized supply anyway. They never had a fully realized truck-centric supply system like the US, which also explains much of their problems in North Africa.

                The Red Army was also railroad-to-horse centric in supply up until they got all those Studebaker trucks in lend-lease from the US, the impact of which to the Red Army’s mobility on the Eastern Front is often overlooked or discounted.

      2. They learned nothing from the Boer War and Russo-Japanese War either, and they were closer in time.

      3. There’s *so much* of that, all through history, that it’s hard to muster a good argument against the Interventionists. Aliens, time travelers, gods… it sure looks like *something* has a thumb on the scale.

        1. One of my favorite plot bunnies is the idea that, well, you know how there were so many plots to assassinate Hitler? And so many of them failed in improbable ways, like a bomb-containing briefcase getting nudged by someone’s leg so that it was right in the wrong place to take Hitler out? (The heavy conference table absorbed enough of the blast). Or the plot where a German officer taking Hitler on a museum tour had a time bomb strapped to his chest, but Hitler was bored with the tour, rushed through it, and left while the bomb had just enough time on it for the officer to hurriedly defuse it in a bathroom? Yeah, the plot bunny is that that’s all due to the actions of two sets of time travelers. One set trying to kill Hitler, the other set knowing that if Hitler dies, whoever takes over would be less militarily incompetent and there would be a much higher chance of Germany winning WW2, so as distasteful as it feels, they have to keep Hitler alive. Hence all the improbable plot failures.

      4. My late Mother, who had been a History teacher, maintained that a great deal of the misery of the Great War was indeed because none of the European Powers had paid any real attention to the American Civil War.

        1. Or the Boer War, because very similar things developed there (defensive greater than offensive, use of automatic weapons and barbed wire to create a stalemate landscape . . . )

          1. And this one:

            “Let us admit it fairly, as a business people should,
            We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good.
            Not on a single issue, or in one direction or twain,
            But conclusively, comprehensively, and several times and

            Were all our most holy illusions knocked higher than Gilde-
            roy’s kite.
            We have had a jolly good lesson, and it serves us jolly well
            right ! “

      5. The European observers did see the proto-trench warfare around Petersburg and the like. They even took note of it, but decided it was a uniquely American phenomena.

        Then you found the same things on the lines during the Russo-Japanese War, and the European observers again dismissed it.

  3. Not only do Marxists see people was widgets and as defined only by their “group”, their solution when they see that reality does not work they way that they demand it to is to blame “defective” widgets and to then engage in mass elimination of said widgets, i.e. people.

    1. Exactly. Their Plan is Perfect; they just have to eliminate all those imperfect people that don’t fit in it.

      1. That’s the point of Getty and Naumov’s The Road to Terror. Marxism was presented as scientific and a perfect roadmap to utopia. When it failed, no one dared question the plan. It had to be enemy action.

        And it’s why Khrushchev had to blame Stalin and the Cult of Personality in the Secret Speech. He couldn’t just say, “We’ve all been sold a bill of goods. Marxism doesn’t work.” Instead, he had to double down on “restoring Party norms” and “restoring collective governance,” and the USSR hobbled along for another three and a half decades of blighted lives and blighted land, until Gorbachev’s attempts at reform pulled too many bricks out from under the apparatus of control that held it together.

    2. While I despise Marxists, that is not a vice limited to the modern Fascist Left. All Aristocracies in all eras have had the tendency, which is why so many of them have ended up on pitchforks when the wigits/peasants have had a bellyful.

  4. “In fact the “national” borders of Europe are no more “real” to the genetic make up of people’s than are national borders anywhere else.”

    Yeah, about that. Do these people not know their own ancestry?

    One side of my family is Swedish and German. The other side is German-Russian. The Swedes tended to move around some. The German-Russians were Germans, who moved to Russia via royal invite, but were always German. They never married any “Russians” (or Ukranians for that matter), and stayed pretty well self isolated in their own communities. They left Russia when the agreements made years before to get them to move there started getting broken and they could see the writing on the walls. Of course, the reason they left “Germany” was after the various series of wars moved through the area they thought Russia might be greener pastures. Where many of them left is now a part of France. My ancestors were never shy about moving. Mars is looking mighty fine right now.

    1. I am told that certain of my ancestors had to look out the window each morning to see whose flag was flying above the city office before they knew which country they were a part of that day.

        1. Before my maternal grandfather’s family moved to a bit west of Copenhagen, they were living in Schleswig-Holstein. German, Danish, depending on how the disputes and wars went. Grampa went west (Canada at first, then to the USA) shortly before WW1.

    2. My grandmother’s family was German, who were invited to move to Poland. Even there, they were completely dirt-poor. My great-grandmother, grandmother and great-aunt ended up moving to Russia as refugees, after my great-grandfather left for the United States, to work until he could bring them there. Which is another thing that never gets mentioned. My ancestors worked and suffered to get here, and worked and suffered after they got here. Sometimes I do feel guilty about how much easier I have it.

    3. 1. The Germans were pretty far out in the country, on empty frontier land, and Russia had lots of weird groups that lived way out in the country. Catherine the Great (who did most of the inviting) saw no reason why everybody couldn’t just get along. She did not predict correctly.

      2. Well, of course the Germans didn’t intermarry. Wasn’t anybody to intermarry with, even if they had suddenly decided to become Orthodox instead of Catholic or Lutheran or what have you.

      3. Given that traditionally the Russian Orthodox don’t accept anybody else’s baptisms as valid, and given that rebaptism is a really really big heresy from the Western point of view, and given that you can’t marry somebody Orthodox without being baptized or rebaptized as Orthodox… really, the only way you could get remarriage is to convert a bunch of anti-baptism German Protestants, or to get a bunch of Catholics and Lutherans to say that they have been not just heretics or schismatics all their lives, but actual heathen pagans. “Yup, my relatives died horribly for Christ… as unbaptized heathen pagans. I moved here to get away from persecution… which didn’t count, because I was a godless non-member of Christ’s Body.”

      This is one of the really big sticking points between the Orthodox and everybody else Christian, even though technically it’s a matter of ecclesiastical discipline and not theology. It turns out that theology by the back door of discipline might as well be theology. (And of course some things Catholics do are similar sticking points for the Orthodox.)

      4. The admirable Bishop Athanasius Schneider was from one of those Russian German settlements, and they lived through a lot of very bad stuff. How bad? Moving to East Germany was better. But it was all stupid, because those little settlements in the middle of nowhere were extremely productive, and should have been considered a bright spot; and they all spoke German and stayed home, so they weren’t exactly spreading counterrevolutionary ideas.

      1. Forgot to say that Schneider has an autobiography out, Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph over the Darkness of the Age. I think it’s on the free borrowing thing on Amazon. His folks lived all the way out in Kyrgyzstan. His mom was an amazing woman, and I wish they’d had him tell more about their lives in the USSR, but I imagine it was painful to recount.

    4. Yeah, those Scandinavians got around. I’m told that the Rus in Russia comes from the red beards (Barba Rossa?) of the Norse visitors who showed up and took over rather than just raiding and going back home.

      1. Mostlt from Sweden.

        The Norse and Danes had access to the North Sea without having to pass through hostile waters trying the Baltic. And vice versa.

        1. My recollection, from High School World history back in the late 1960s, is that they (I forget who “they” were) invited in the Rus to protect them from viking raids.

          Not exactly the best thought out plan.

  5. Gallia omnis est divisa in partes tres.*

    (*Wow auto-illiterate really hates that one. Not bright and shining, alas. Wearing the fake mask face diaper so expressionless and short of breath. Meh.)

  6. A lot of colonialism seems to have been caused by progressivism: progressives believing that they know what’s best for everyone else means that they think they know what’s best for those poor people in [fill-in-the-blank].

    Chesterton, in the era, seems to have thought World War I was a result of the progressive desire for a “scientific state”.

    In Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State he wrote that he’d written the essays before World War I, and then, when the greatest scientific state of all brought about the Great War, he put them aside, happy that his work was wasted now that people saw the outcome of eugenics, enlightened socialism, and progressivism.

    “…but men’s memories are unstable things. It may be that gradually these dazed dupes will gather again together, and attempt again to believe their dreams and disbelieve their eyes. There may be some whose love of slavery is so ideal and disinterested that they are loyal to it even in its defeat. Wherever a fragment of that broken chain is found, they will be found hugging it.”

    It was fascinating reading about the evils that led to WW1 and were likely to lead to its repeat, by a very good writer of the era it was happening.

    (In Heretics, he wrote that “It is, moreover, true that the people who have settled least what is progress are the most ‘progressive’ people in it.”)

    1. At the start Colonialism was driven by a hunger for wealth. Those areas that were not primarily wealth generators were necessary supply stops for shipping. This might result in oppression of the locals, but they understood it. In many cases they adapted and their lives improved. Later Colonialism was driven by buttinskiism; the Progressive’s desire to Uplift His Fellow Man. When practiced by people who had some understanding of the local cultures, this wasn’t altogether bad. When driven by the airy theorizing of Cocktail Party Progressives back in the parent country, it usually ended in disaster.

      1. So basically, early Colonialism was just industrialization of the early methods of history and later Colonialism was the Women’s Temperance Union.

        Yeah, I’ll buy that. I’ve mostly argued the former for years. It was that it was especially evil relative to most of history, but that industrialization scaled it.

      2. There was also status involved. Real Great Powers had colonies. Although only the British really made a profit.

        And if you take a look at the British Empire, much of it was control of key shipping choke points. And India.

        1. And by WW1, certainly by its end, the Empire was less a profit than it had been and became a drag.

          It was a source of bodies needed for the two world wars, though.

          1. More than just bodies; food, raw materials, and amaments from the current and former colonies were the only thing that kept Britain in the fight.

            Note when the industrialized colonies and America turned the flow of goodies off after the war, Britain couldn’t hold the Suez Canal either on their own or with the few allies they could muster. And loss of the Canal was one of the big factors that led to the disintegration of the British Empire; it was their economical shipping route to India. (which, then, was *much* larger than it is today; the Raj included “India”, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, along with various smaller polities, in varying colonial or vassal-state situations)

    2. Uh Uh. As I pointed out during the great Puppy fracas: what the SJWs are doing is trying to play colonists to the benighted geeks, and make us behave properly and wear pants and everything. But the geeks LIKE their grass skirts.

      1. Having just read “Rain” by Somerset Maugham that really strikes a tone.

        However, I’d rather be Sadie Thompson than the natives. I want to drive those buttinski missionaries to suicide.

        1. If you read enough Kipling (especially the neglected non-fiction) you gather that the uplift efforts were of two aspects. The efforts of the British who lived in India, had some (albeit imperfect) understanding of the culture, and wanted to govern a reasonably orderly country, and the efforts of idiots who Had A Theory and wanted to impose it on the locals. Kipling approved of the former, and considered the latter nothing but trouble.

          1. I’ve read enough Kipling to see that.

            So had Orwell, who in his defense of Kipling makes a similar point about the Empire Kipling celebrated and why that wasn’t as bad as socialist made it out to be.

          2. The myriad polities of India had been happy to squabble and fight among each other for centuries, like rams butting heads. There had been a few empires, but they eventually fell apart. The Brits were just another group of empire-builders, and no more alien than the ones from a few hundred miles away, who also had a completely different language, culture, religion, and history. Pretty much like when the Conquistadors landed in the Americas. The new guys upset the balance of power; polities that signed on with them early had significant advantages, once that didn’t got steamrollered. Same story, different hats.

            The key tools both the Spanish and British had that the natives didn’t were guns. The natives had formal military structures and knowledge of logistics, strategy, and tactics, and they weren’t stupid. But even matchlock muzzle-loaders were enough to upset the Established Order of Things, and they were too slow to adopt new tactics against the guns before they were overrun.

            Nowadays we have nuclear weapons, Warthogs, Predator drones, bullet-tracking radar, spy satellites, trucks, battleships, submarines, supersonic bombers… but as Vietnam and Afghanistan have shown, the descendants of those front-stuffers are still effective military weapons.

            “Good? Bad? I’m the guy with the gun.” — Good Ash, “Army of Darkness”

            1. The Mughals had firearms.
              I think it was more of a social issue. A warrior caste can only be so large, and replacements can’t just be conscripted without destroying the society (and having the warrior caste immediately launch a civil war).

              1. Another of the weird things about the United States. We are ALL warrior caste – or at least we were. Read the legal definition of the militia.

                1. When nobody is nobility, then everyone is. Also the way deer hunting (and hunting in general) is blue collar here in the US, rather than an aristocratic thing.

              2. You are correct. And they predated the use of firearms in Europe, too. The Mughals extended their empire over most of the subcontinent with cannon against emplaced positions. But their small arms were primitive even by 17th century standards; they pretty much sucked as useful military weapons.

                Now, as to why they didn’t copy the hardware and tactical improvements the Europeans had, and use them to push them back to the sea… you’re back to that “culture” thing again.

                1. As to why they didn’t copy the technology? They probably didn’t have the industrial base to do so. Metallurgy would be a big stumbling block. And it wouldn’t necessarily be obvious, so a lot of time and effort could get wasted on guns that LOOKED like the ones the Westerners had, but tended to blow up.

            2. IF the native Americans hadn’t been so destroyed by the unintentional introduction of various diseases I think they would have prevailed over the Europeans with the fire arms. It was a close thing as it was, often depending a great deal on creating alliances with other local natives to overwhelm those in power. The enemy of my enemy may or may not be my friend, but we have a common target that we can dispose of now and then we can hash out differences later.

              1. Except that the various tribes didn’t see it that way.

                There were tribes who allied with Americans/English/etc against their tribal enemies.

                Heck, the Spanish had plenty of Indian Allies against the Aztecs.

                1. It helps that absolutely EVERYBODY in that part of the world *loathed* the Aztecs, who seem to have viewed pretty much everyone as “human sacrifice fodder.” And they hated the Mayans nearly as much–I gather because the Mayans were virulent mercenaries who tended not to stay bought and were essentially bandits.

                  Frankly, the single fact that the Conquistadors were *horrified* by human sacrifice on that kind of scale probably automatically put them in the “better than those bastards” column…I know it’s fashionable to play up how evil/bad/oppressive the Spaniards were but…what came before them was even WORSE.

              2. From the POV of Liddle Tribe Backwater– why the hell would I ally with the current jerk against the Europeans?

                They may think they’re treating me pretty badly, sure, but they don’t have looting me and mine as a team building exercise, and they’ll even sell me stuff WITHOUT casing the joint to see if my daughters are pretty enough to kill me for.

                The Europeans did a lot of bad stuff — difference between them and the local tribe is the Europeans thought it was bad even if they did it, and your neighbor thought it was Tuesday.

          3. Or the poetry….


            “We reached a hundred and twenty once in the Court at noon,
            (I’ve mentioned Pagett was portly) Pagett, went off in a swoon.
            That was an end to the business; Pagett, the perjured, fled
            With a practical, working knowledge of “Solar Myths” in his head.

            And I laughed as I drove from the station, but the mirth died out on my lips
            As I thought of the fools like Pagett who write of their “Eastern trips,”
            And the sneers of the traveled idiots who duly misgovern the land,
            And I prayed to the Lord to deliver another one into my hand.”

        2. I’ve never read “Rain”, but I looked it up on Wikipedia. Assuming their summary is reasonably accurate, then that story is pure, unadulterated hokum. I can’t say that no missionaries ever acted that way, but that story takes the behavior of 2% of missionaries and tries to make you think the other 98% acted that way as well.

          I see this a lot, actually. There was another book that… well, let me give you some background first.

          My mother’s parents were missionaries in northern Brazil / southern Guyana (it’s hard to be precise about borders when you’re in the middle of the Amazon jungle), working with an indigenous people group called the Waiwai. They knew a lot about what their fellow missionaries did, and I’ve heard stories of oil companies trying to buy land at ridiculously low prices, and the missionaries doing their best to teach people how much money the oil companies were expecting to make, so that they knew they could ask for a MUCH higher price and not get ripped off. Or, in the many parts where the oil companies’ offer was actually illegal according to the local laws, informing the people about said local laws and doing their best to inform the local government about the illegal behavior of the oil companies.

          Okay, now to talk about the book I mentioned. Back when I was in college, I remember picking up a book in a Barnes & Noble to read its back cover, because the title, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, had intrigued me. The blurb claimed that the author had been part of a US government team (I think he said CIA) that went into poor countries and destabilized their economies so that oil companies and the like could take over. (It’s been twenty years since I read that blurb, so don’t be surprised if I misquote it a little). I wondered if that were true, but I wish that I’d flipped through the book a little and read a bit of it. Because years later, I learned that one of the claims he made in that book was that missionaries had worked with oil companies to defraud the locals and let the oil companies acquire oil-bearing land for ridiculously low prices. Since I knew that that was exactly the opposite of what had really happened, I concluded that the author was a d***ed liar and not one word of the book could be trusted. After all, falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus.

          And the summary of “Rain” strikes me the same way. I can’t say that no missionaries ever were as manipulative as Davidson is in the story, but I can say that due to my family history, I met a lot of missionaries from that generation when I was younger, and I heard stories. And if Davidson’s behavior in the story had been at all typical of missionaries the way the author of that story wants you to believe, I would have heard about it. I didn’t. What I heard about was missionaries who wanted people to get out of sex work because it was harming them. Or to stop drinking alcohol because it was harming them.

          When you talk about “those buttinski missionaries”, I can tell that you have, on some level, believed the lie that the story told you: that all missionaries are like that. I’m here to tell you, from personal knowledge, that that’s a lie. It’s the same lie as having the bad guy in murder mysteries always be the conservative. Don’t buy into it.

          1. It ties into the entire progressive mindset. The first progressives, with their belief in Science, automatically rejected everything that had come before them as “primitive superstition,” which nonetheless exerted a powerful and malign influence on the intellectually inferior and conservative masses. So they began the process of using ridicule and mockery to undermine the Church (in the widest sense). Portraying missionaries as meddling fools was part of the playbook.

            1. I like the way you phrased that: “belief in Science” with a capital S: the religion whose priestly vestments are white lab coats, and where the pronouncements of Science can be “settled”: truth that is not to be questioned, nor even re-evaluated when new evidence shows up. In the realm of science with a lowercase s, though, things get re-evaluated all the time. Ask a Science believer about evolution, and he’ll tell you that it’s settled science and those Intelligent Design idiots (his term) are no better than ignorant peasants. Ask an actual scientist about evolution, though, and he’ll tell you that while the broad concepts are pretty widely accepted, the actual details are being re-evaluated all the time (e.g., forty years ago nobody would have portrayed dinosaurs as having feathers, but now it seems pretty widely accepted that they — or at least, many of them — probably did, at least if I’ve understood things right given that I’m a programmer, not a paleontologist).

          2. When you talk about “those buttinski missionaries”, I can tell that you have, on some level, believed the lie that the story told you: that all missionaries are like that.

            Not at all. I speak of a very particular kind of creature. In fairness he is a missionary not in a specific Christian form, but an evangelist of any faith.

            The grandest version is the typical member of the Woman’s Temperance Union. They speak from a moral purity that impelled them to correct the error in others. Having, to their minds lost their motes their will happily correct your spec.

            In postbellum America they are the backbone of the progressive tradition and represent the ur version of the modern progressive.

            Now, if you wish to tell me that such people are rare on actual overseas mission I accept that without argument. Such people require an actual network and support structure rare in the field. Even Dickenson in the story relies on his ability to threaten the Governor of American Somoa via connections in Washington. This is no different from the SJW mission to the geeks relying in publishers and major magazines who rarely cover geekdom for the power to influence things.

            No, these are the people whose masion is to benighted neighbor’s down the street much more than people in primative places.

            1. The frustrating thing is that, at least at its very core, the Temperance movement was born out of “we have families going hungry/being beat because the breadwinner is an alcholic” but like so many things it got utterly coopted (and early on, I strongly suspect) by Karens.

              Reading up on Prohibition was very…eye-opening. In its initial form, it was a case of “let’s just make the SALE of alcohol illegal, but people can still consume what they make/get from buddies/etc” but then they went utterly insane. Also the reason a.) we got lobbyists in their current incarnation, and b.) income tax (at least in part).

              Those twerps from the Temperance movement have a LOT to answer for…

              1. There is a tendency to forget (if they ever knew) that back then most (lower-level) workers were aid in cash.
                Come payday many a man stopped off for “a drink” on his way home and emptied his pay envelope before getting home.

                Once again, proof that there’s no goal so noble that the Karen Caucus cannot cock it up. As Eric Hoffer observed, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

          3. Manly Wade Wellman’s family were missionaries, and he grew up in Africa. He spoke a couple of African languages, IIRC. I guess it was kind of hard for him to fit into US society, not taking most of his concerns seriously, which was part of why he ended up finding a happy home in the hill country in North Carolina.

            David Drake is just about the only Wellman commentator who talked about that, and yet it seems to have been pretty important to Wellman’s worldview and large number of competencies. It doesn’t really show in any of his stories except the Paleolithic-set ones, where he goes into detail about hunting large game with low-tech weapons, and doing various other low-tech tasks.

            Meanwhile, the Peace Corps was being a missionary without Christ or self-defense tools.

              1. Hey! Chris Matthews served in the peace Corps!

                (As did Toy Snow, but I am making book on which of them was a) typical and on b) which was capable of learning from the experience.)

            1. Meanwhile, the Peace Corps was being a missionary without Christ or self-defense tools.

              And all the foresight of the grasshopper in a parable.

              “I don’t get it, why do we keep rebuilding this well every single year?”
              My crazy uncle, who while crazy is not an idiot: *asks* *is informed that the week after they leave, the raiders show up and strip the metal out*
              Uncle attempts to send that information up… is basically told they’re there to do good, not actually have a good effect, resulting in him quitting Peace Corps.

      2. More like, they want to keep us in our Culturally Appropriate grass skirts, because pants are Cultural Imperialism. Those of us who PREFER pants have been contaminated with Whiteness. Or something.

          1. Given that pants originated with the Huns, migrated through Rome and thence to Europe, I’m not sure it’s *whiteness*, really

              1. If you get one of those woven rope type mats and a sharpie, you can make any mat you want. 😀

                Ours says “just so you know, there’s, like, a lot of kids in here.”

                1. Ours says “just so you know, there’s, like, a lot of kids in here.”

                  Former neighbor recycles old wood & adds sayings you can hang on or near your door, or otherwise post out front. Ours says “No Soliciting. Seriously. We have a good vacuum. Don’t need tires. Don’t need encyclopedias. Our kids are selling the same school stuff yours are. Exception: Girl Scout Cookies.”

                  (Have seen variations from Girl Scout Cookies swapped out with “Unless you are giving away Beer.”)

                  Not that anyone reads it … but still.

      3. They have managed to colonise a great deal. It’s frustrating. And they’re the belligerent colonisers too.

        I am currently confused by why nationalism of any sort is supposed to be a bad thing. Yes, even in fiction. That was a thing I ran into recently.

  7. What time is it at According to Hoyt? You’re right. It’s heresy time!

    My husband has long ago learned that there are places it is not safe to take me, because he just ends up dragging me out while I’m still trying to get a last zinger in at the speaker.

    I correct things at zoos all the time– framing it as “gosh, isn’t it funny how science advances? When they first ordered this sign, they didn’t know about ______.”

    So far, so good.

        1. It is a path of wisdom seldom trod these days. Humility and kindness backed by a strong will has turned away wrath most often before wrath gets up in the morning. *grin*

      1. That’s what I use with a certain textbook. “When the book was written, they didn’t know that [fill-in-the-data] . . . So it is just out dated information. Here’s the latest, based on X, Y, and Z.”

    1. When we were at the 10th anniversary of 9/11 church service and the minister announced the Ritual of Penance (wherein we were to meditate on the *legitimate* reasons there might have been for the attacks), he made the mistake of asking if any of us wished to speak. I did. Afterward, my husband dragged me out of church because he was afraid I was going to make a beeline to the minister and rip his lungs out.

      1. So, that’s a +1 for you, and a -1 to your husband for stopping you.

        After all, a lack of lungs would make it much harder for that idiot to spew bullshit.

        1. Actually, the guy was a powerful preacher who could give a thoughtful sermon. It was just that he’d cut and pasted a message from all his favorite authors in honor of the occasion. When he spoke in his own words he was pretty good. And better grounded than his sucessor.

      2. “We got attacked because we failed to take back the Holy Land, Asia Minor, the Silk Road, and Arabia from the paynim. The Israelis obeyed God on that point and have been blessed.”

        And seriously, did that guy think he was going to get through the evening without a demand to drop a nuke on Mecca and Baghdad? It was like opening the lid on a boiling pot while keeping your hand there to be scalded.

      3. *twitch*

        I’m not sure I’d have had the strength to stop that….

        Next up, let’s meditate on the legitimate reasons for those committing the torture and execution of the Lord Incarnate…. *facepalm* It’s the same principle, wronging the innocent.

        1. I started out by saying I felt as if I was listening to a battered wife. “He beat me! He’d NEVER beat me if I hadn’t done something to deserve it!” Then I went on to hatred and envy of our wealth and happiness. I had two guys come up to me in the parking lot afterwards to thank me.

          1. If cultural relativism is to offer any value it ought be that we must communicate to other cultures in terms and contexts they can understand. When dealing with a Strength Culture, for example, it is important to NOT display weakness, say by apologizing for provoking their attack. That just engenders contempt and prompts further aggressions. Similarly, when dealing with a Transactional Culture aggression is inappropriate provocation when the proper response is to negotiate agreeable terms.

            Trump has demonstrated far better understanding of these principle than any dozen Washington politicians and pundits.

            Which is one reason they detest him. He keeps invalidating their theories and thus diminishing their importance.

  8. “Mommy, it says here that there was… anti union violence.”
    “Yes, dear. That’s what they called it when the guys threatening the families of the mill owner and the head worker disappeared, and when the workers were armed when they met the next batch that tried to come in and unionize them. Eventually they left the mill alone. Ask your dad about what ‘The Mob’ is, he’s better at that kind of history.”

  9. There is a very stupid meme going around facebook that talks about how terrible it would be if Europe had ever been treated the way that Africa and Asia were treated, and partitioned and repartitioned at random by uncaring colonial powers.

  10. When it comes to government it should always be as small, local and personal/adaptable as possible. Because people aren’t groups, or widgets that fit into groups, be the groups race, cultures, or nations.

    Funny thing– this is actually Catholic social teaching.

    Things should be handled at the lowest practical level.

    It’s called the Principle of Subsidiarity.

    I told you it was funny….

    1. yeah, priest talked about this. I.e. COVID should be “NYC has a problem” not “let’s shut down the NATION” and Black Lives Matter have a problem with LOCAL police departments, setting fire to the country is a mistake.

      1. NYC has a governor who ORDERED Corona patients be housed in seniors residences. Oh, and kept planes from China landing at NYC airports, and left the subway running, and…

        You know, like he was trying to kill as many of them as possible? Funny how that guy still has a fricking job, and Trump is to blame for everything.

        1. And is crowing about what a GREAT JOB he did ‘Dealing with the Pandemic!!’

          Neglecting the fact that NYC has the HIGHEST corona-related death rate in the ENTIRE USA, and probably in the world outside of China.

          And nobody calls bullshit. Why?

          1. Because then heads go on pikes and Democrats lose elections. So the media will cover this story- with a pillow til it stops moving, to borrow a phrase.

          2. Because if they call him out they lose his attacks on Trump, and they know Trump is the “real” villain.

            Another four years of Trump and some of his changes, like elimination of low-tax states underwriting high-tax states the SALT deduction or enforcing free speech regimes on college campuses become far harder to roll back. Just as his Constitutionalist judges would become a majority in the nation’s courts and Janus would deplete union coffers

            Besides, New York, Illinois and California likely can’t survive four years without a Federal bail-out and the KNOW Trump won’t give them one. And most of the MSM hacks journalists live in high tax states and want inconvenient speech curtailed.

        1. Those are the biggies, but there are a lot more under them — the Shitty Council, and the District Attorneys that keep setting the criminals loose after the cops catch them.

          The fish may rot from the head, but it’s pretty well fully involved now.

          1. I keep in mind that de Blasio probably was the city’s best available option for mayor. The fact that fewer than nine percent of the populace voted to seat de Blasio indicates what are the state’s two biggest problems: the NY Democrat Party and the NY Republican Party.

    1. Austro-Hungarian Rifles?

      I would make comment about most excellent rifle of Keptin Mosin (with proven track record of killing both fascists and communists!), but Hostess frowns on religious discussions.

      1. There are tons of episodes in this series on the guns, mostly focusing on one country and rifles or handguns. So no matter your preferred (or hated) WWI weapon of lesser destruction, they probably talk about it somewhere.

        1. Need edit button!
          Each episode focuses on one country, and one type of armament.

          I’m dealing with another depressive funk, so not always remembering to send complete thoughts from brain to fingers to keyboard.

      2. Sergei Mosin was in charge of the new rifle acquisition project, so it got his name, as was common in Russia. Anyway, it wasn’t a new rifle, it was just an improvement to the existing single-shot rifle; the adaptation of the Nagant interruptor-magazine feed and upgrades like front locking lugs and an all-new small-caliber cartridge. It was made on the original Berdanka machinery, and the changes were so minor that when the Tsarist army was short of rifles in WWI, Berdankas were retrofitted with Mosin barrels and magazines to make them repeaters.

        The old rifle had been designed by one Hiram Berdan, a Union officer in the American Civil War, and also inventor of the Berdan cartridge primer, used by most countries worldwide, except in the USA, where we use the British Boxer primer design.

        The Russians set up two factories in Russia building the new rifles, and sourced some from France, and put a large order with Remington in the US; the October Revolution happened, and the Communists didn’t want to pay for them, so the US Army bailed Remington out by buying them and using some for training and sold the rest off as military surplus.

        The 7.62×54 Rimmed was designed in 1891 for the Mosin; it is still in production 129 years later. And it’s more powerful than the US Army’s 7.62×51 NATO round. Is good Russian rifle, made for killing enemies of Tsar.

        Every rifle is a piece of history, both past and future…

        1. More powerful than 7.62 nato, but not really more powerful than .30-06, which is its actual contemporary.

          Also, you forgot New England Westinghouse.

          1. Yeah, but the .30-06 is no longer a current military cartridge, and the 54R is still in service.

            +1 on Westinghouse.

  11. As far as Vickie’s family went, I remember reading a book about the English monarchy and ran across this quote by George V, after reading an article that said he was alien and uninspiring. “I may be uninspiring, but I’ll be damned if I am alien.” How many people remember that the English Monarchy was (and partially still is) composed of Hanoverian aristocrats?
    Then we come to the frankly incestuous intermarriages of the broader European monarchies. When there were many regional kingdoms, princedoms, and dukedoms there were many opportunities to marry out of the family fold. As these regions were consolidated, the ability to find spouses narrowed until everyone was 1st and 2nd cousins, Victoria was known as the grandmother of Europe, and a Danish prince is known as the Father-in-law of Europe (he had 6 daughters to marry off). This, as much as anything, contributed to WWI.

    1. They were the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha until the anti-German propaganda of WWI got too many people to notice the royal family was German…

      1. They were about as German as I am. They spoke English and lived among people who spoke it, appointed people who spoke it, and ate food cooked by those who spoke it.

        By Victoria, those “German” monarchs were more English than any Plantagenet prior to Edward III was, maybe even Edward IV. Certainly, that family valued England least in terms of culture for most of its existance.

          1. Hard to tell. A lot of mainland France was once under English rule. The French are still aggrieved over that.

        1. Although Victoria did grow up in England, she was completely fluent in German, since her father was dead, and her mother and nanny/governess were native Germans. She and Albert used German a lot in their relationship, and I think all 9 kids were fluent in German too.

        2. Edward VII had a German accent when he spoke English, so did Victoria. Many of the continental noble houses had what were essentially cockney accents since they learned English from their nanny.

          Edward was the first English Monarch to marry a non German since Anne whose spouse was coincidentally also Danish.

    2. In his wonderful (and only printed once, damnit) book THE RABBLE ROUSERS, Eric Frank Russell wrote that during the height of the Dreyfus case idiocy in France, Queen Victoria wrote to her grandson, the Kaiser, asking if Dreyfus was guilty, and was answered that as far as the Kaiser could determine, he was not. Whereupon Victoria concluded, as have many of her countrymen, the wogs begin at Calais.

      1. You keep mentioning that book, and I keep looking it up and cringing at the price, but I know sooner or later I’m going to click the “buy” button.

        I’m a big fan of Russell’s science fiction; he’s a sadly unappreciated author nowadays. It will be interesting to read some of his nonfiction.

        1. Some years back, when I couldn’t find my copy and REALLY wanted to read it, I managed to borrow one through Interlibrary loan. And asking for such has the added benefit of getting your local Librarian to like you because you asked them to do something interesting.

          Last time I did thins there was a minor cost, and you do have to make sure to get the book back on time, biut there really isn’t much of a down side and you’d find out if the book was worth the price.

              1. I actually sacrificed a copy and had it scanned into eBook form (Blue Leaf Scanning, if anyone cares). It isn’t prefect, but it’s readable. I’ve tried a time or two to find out who holds the copyrights To Russell’s work, but the one time I got a useful looking information, my Lady’s health was entering crisis, and when I came up for air, I had lost the reference.

    3. I thought the father-in-law of Europe was King Christian IX of Denmark (although he might have stayed a prince had he not married a woman who also had legitimate claims to the Danish throne.) He only had 3 daughters, but since 2 of them were the Queen of England and the Tsarina of Russia eventually, he didn’t do too badly. His other daughter was Queen of Hanover, which would have meant more, had the Prussians not taken it over.

  12. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

    They are desperate. They’ve tried this with the Bellesiles book, with the 1619 Project, and daily at Wiki. They only get away with it in their own pointy little heads.

    1. I’ve heard it suggested elsewhere that they’re also trying to run this as a “color” revolution, based on the old US State Department handbook on overthrowing dictators. The book itself is titled “From Dictatorship to Democracy.”

      I’m finding it a rather interesting read, and may well be more applicable to our situation than it is to theirs.

        1. It’s a name for the various revolutions the US sort of sponsored against the Soviet Union. We apparently had a handbook for it that we stuck to if some part of our intel community was trying to run it.

          While I suspect parts of the intel brass is working to replace the current administration, whether or not they are pulling from that playbook is, I think, less interesting than the playbook itself. It’s big thing seems to be on how to find areas where you can beat whoever is running the dictatorship, and how to sway public option in ways that the news media cannot control.

          As. i said, I’m just starting out in it, but it’s already raising good solid points, on the oversee of: Diplomacy is only great if the other guy is actually offering anything and you can believe in what they’re offering. It doesn’t work when you disagree on fundamental principles.

          A lot of tyranny is supported be people believing that they have no other choice but to submit to it or go squish, and a lot of modern woke culture is sustained by the same thing. I think this thing may actually be describing the price to get there; to show people that they don’t have to bow down just because they are told.

          But, I’m still just at the beginning. It may hane of into insanity land. We shall see.

          1. The riots are a directed tool being employed for the express political purpose of achieving power and to destroy political opponents:


            For the Democrats the riots are simply part and parcel of their will to power. When Democrats/leftists call their opponents Nazi’s, they are projecting their own ideology and tactics on to their political opponents, who are everyone who are not fully on board with the demands of The Party and who refuse to embrace Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Conformity is Diversity.

            1. “Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Conformity is Diversity”

              A quote worthy of George Orwell’s, ‘1984’. And of course we recognized Antifa from the start as being an anarchic arm of real fascism in the U.S.

              1. The map is not the territory and contents may not match the label.

                Wealthy BLM protester’s notes reveal plan to occupy luxury NYC apartments
                They can start with her place!

                The wealthy young woman accused of rioting in Lower Manhattan cooked up plans to take over luxury apartments abandoned by “white flight” — and defend them by tossing bricks off rooftops, The Post has learned.

                Clara Kraebber, whose parents own a $1.8 million co-op with river views on the Upper East Side, detailed her desire to build a “BLM [Black Lives matter] focused” network for “wealth re-distribution” in notes seized following her arrest last week, law enforcement sources said.

                But in an ironic twist, The Post last week found Kraebber at her family’s second home: a 4-bedroom, 2-1/2 bathroom farmhouse that dates to 1730 and sits on nearly seven acres in rural Litchfield County, Conn.


                The dozens of hand-written pages also outline a “revolutionary strategy” that cites the murderous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky as inspiration, law-enforcement sources said.

                “These are domestic terrorists looking to turn New York City into another Portland and Seattle,” said one source familiar with the writings.

                “This is a planned conspiracy and the FBI should be investigating.”


                In her notes, Kraebber pointed to the “HUGE number of empty units” in “white flight apts, new luxury buildings” that and include the instruction to “study tactics of clearing buildings.”

                There are repeated references to “scouts” to find vacant apartments and locksmiths to help break in, as well as the need to “prep for SWAT-style eviction efforts” through the use of movable “barricades” and “bricks on roofs as weapons,” sources said.

                A page titled “Revolutionary Strategy” and dated Aug. 21 includes notes that say “Stalin — defend USSR at all costs” and “Trotsky — United front of all working class but don’t let capitalists in,” sources said.

                There are repeated references to the Spanish Civil War, including an assertion that the failure of the Spanish revolution of 1936 was a “failure of leadership,” sources said.

                “Some think actual revolution will be lead by more deliberate leadership,” Kraebber wrote.

                Kraebber also faulted the protests over the police killing of George Floyd, writing, “Minneapolis — lots of spontaneous radical energy but no leadership.”

                Her notes contain multiple mentions of “Abolition Park” — or “AP” — which refer to the anti-cop encampment that activists set up outside City Hall during the recent battle to defund the NYPD, which resulted in a total $1.5 billion in cuts to its operating and capital budgets.

                “All cops are bad because they work for a system that thrives off the oppression of marginalized communities. Asking ‘what about the ‘good’ cops?’ is like asking what about the good slave masters,” according to the Abolition Park website.


                The “Officer Safety Alert” also said that anarchists could listen in on police communications and stash rocks on rooftops to hurl at cops.

                In addition, the NYPD said that the homes of police brass could be targeted, as could patrons of Upper West Side restaurants — as happened Saturday in Pittsburgh, where diners were subjected to profane insults and one demonstrator even swiped a drink off an outdoor table.

                Following her arrest on charges of felony rioting and misdemeanor possession of graffiti instruments, Kraebber was released with a summons to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court on Dec. 3.

                Kraebber’s case hasn’t been entered into online court records and it’s unclear if she’s hired a defense lawyer.

                Calls to both of her homes weren’t answered and emails sent to her parents weren’t returned Friday.

    2. The Bellesiles book! Man, I haven’t thought of that in ages. I remember blogging about that at the time, post was at my long-gone Geocities blog. The guy flat-out lied, like a Persian carpet, and got caught. Some history nerd found “discrepancies” in the documents Bellesiles was quoting as part of his “research”. Looked them up and then posted them all over the gun-friendly internet.

      Last I heard Bellesiles had been invited to leave his university job.

      1. Wow, you know something progressive is really discredited when flippin’ wikipedia opens the description with “the discredited book–“

        1. Different attempts to get their revolution– RES mentioned that “the US didn’t really care about guns” one, and Phantom went down memory lane.

      2. Unfortunately, we’re probably still suffering from the effects of his book today. Thank goodness we have people of integrity like John Lott doing research on firearms and violence to counter the lies.

  13. I thought there was also the tragedy of interlocking treaties: If A invades B, we are obligated to defend B, which brought in C, which had the obligation to defend A, and so on until everybody had fallen into one side or the other.

      1. Wilhelm II was a sorry little git; he wanted a war to assert his position in the hierarchy of European monarchs. His cousins ruling Russia and England told him it was a bad idea, but he built his army and sent it off anyway.

        Wilhelm II was 100% responsible for the war; no amount of hand-waving and retconning can hide that. And he died wealthy at age 81, in the Netherlands in 1941. Which is what happens when you have money, a title, and family connections…

      2. That was the take I saw in American History in the late ’60s. (I skipped World History, but it was hard to ignore WW1.)

    1. The treaties set it up for that, but apparently France may have been seriously considering telling Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire “Maybe next time…”, had Germany not declared war on them first.

      Which Germany did entirely because they were sure France would surely honor the secret treaty, and though they needed to knock them out early in order to bring their full force onto the Russian ‘bear’.

      They just got so enamored of their ‘plan’ that they were unable to even consider adapting when they started getting hints that they might be able to stop France entering the fight through diplomacy.

      Seriously nearly everything about that war was neutron star density level stupidity.

      1. With the sole exception of Black Jack Pershing telling the European allies that he would not put American troops under European officers. Legend has it he told them he didn’t want to be lynched by the boys’ mothers.

            1. He may have simply been one who noticed how many of their guys had mothers who’d moved from Europe.

              A few years ago, I found my (Scottish) grandfather’s draft registration papers on a genealogy site, and I got to wondering how he felt about the idea of going back to fight for the areas he’d worked so hard to escape!

              1. My husband’s maternal grandfather was tried and condemned to execution in absentia as a deserter because he’d emigrated to America and didn’t return to fight for France.

            2. Most of the British ones did and a good few of the French. Colonial wars, but wars. None above a brigade level though. The Germans hadn’t fought a war since 1870, the Austrians since 1866, so only the senior generals had seen one and that as very junior officers.

              The Russians had a lot of experience against the Japanese, and a fair bit of colonial soldiering.

      2. The German military had wanted to go to war with France over the Morocco crisis a couple of years earlier. They thought war with France over the end of the Franco-Prussian was inevitable and had since the end of that war. Germany for much of the period could easily defeat France, but faced a real issue if Russia joined the war as a French ally. Bismark had negotiated a treaty to prevent that which Wilhelm the Second allowed to expire and then antagonized his cousin.

        German wasn’t worried France would help Russia this time. They were worried about waiting to have it out with France when they couldn’t win. They wanted to do it now.

        Even with that, the biggest change from Morocco to Sarajevo was the Archduke was one of Wilhelm personal friends. He had a personal grudge to settle in this when so when Austria came asking for a blank check and the army said that meant war with France he accepted it to revenge his friend.

        1. At the last moment, the Kaiser was getting cold feet about a multi-front war. When When a telegram arrived suggesting that the war might be contained to a Germany-vs-Russia conflict, the Kaiser jumped at the opportunity.

          Prince Lichnowsky, the German ambassador in London, had interpreted a conversation with the Britsh foreign secretary as meaning that England would stay neutral–and also guarantee France’s neutrality–if Germany would confine herself to attacking Russia and would promise not to attack France. The Kaiser called in Chief of Staff von Moltke and gave him his new marching orders: turn around the troops destined for the attack in the west, and redirect them to the eastern front.

          Molke claimed that such redirection was impossible; that the railroad schedules were so intricately interlocked that any change of plans at this late hour would result in total chaos. “Your uncle would have given me a different answer,” the Kaiser said to him bitterly (and passive-aggressively.)

          It was not until after the war that General von Staab–Chief of the Railway Division and the man who would have actually been responsible for the logistics of the redirection–learned about this interchange between Moltke and the Kaiser. Incensed by the implied insult to the capabilities of his bureau, he wrote a book, including pages of detailed charts and graphs, proving that it *could* have been done.

          Source on the above is Barbara Tuchman. Apparently Prince Lichnowsky, in his desire to avoid a catastrophic war, had apparently misinterpreted Edward Grey’s comments–what the foreign secretary had actually said was that he could guarantee British neutrality and also guarantee Germany against attack by France if Germany would promise to attack *neither* France nor Russia.

          But it’s an interesting case study in the dangers of trusting experts–and in this case, the apparent expert, Moltke, was not the *real* expert when it came to railway operations.

          1. I’m not so sure Moltke was wrong. There’s a gap between “possible” and “practical.” If “possible” was dependent on 100% utilitization of resources and nothing going wrong, any sane general would consider Murphy’s Laws and the possibility of enemy sappers taking out a few bridges or locomotives. And more than just the railways would have been involved – moving the army would have hosed their whole supply chain, above and beyond physically getting them to the new location.

            Everything was *already* planned as tightly as they could make it; changing something so huge in mid-stream could not only have failed, it could have left the country in an indefensible position.

            1. It’s possible…von Staab’s after-the-fact analysis didn’t necessarily reflect the difficulties of recalculating everything in real time. But, from a ‘trusting experts’ point of view, the Kaiser (a) should have insisted that von Staab be brought into the discussion rather than just taking Moltke’s off-the-cuff response as definitive, and–more importantly–have insisted on a discussion of what flexibility did and didn’t exist in the plan, long in advance of the coming of actual war.

              1. Well, there was the pecking order thing there. Wilhelm II was the Kaiser, but von Moltke was “Chief of the Great German General Staff”; von Staab was his junior. Bringing in von Staab to question von Moltke’s decision would have been a de facto expression of lack of faith in von Moltke; ripples would have run all the way down the officer corps. von Moltke had signed off on every tiny piece of the plan; undercutting him on such a major decision wasn’t something that could be done without chaos.

                von Moltke was a Prussian; his peers would expect him to resign his commission rather than accept such an insult, and they would cooperate only minimally with him if he did not. Repercussions from that would likely affect not just him, but his family and close associates.

                1. “von Staab was his junior. Bringing in von Staab to question von Moltke’s decision would have been a de facto expression of lack of faith in von Moltke; ripples would have run all the way down the officer corps. von Moltke had signed off on every tiny piece of the plan; undercutting him on such a major decision wasn’t something that could be done without chaos.” Likely true, and if so, an example of an organizational culture that leads to bad outcomes. If you as an overall leader can’t have a discussion which includes both one of your direct subordinates *and* one or more of that person’s subordinates, without your direct report feeling he has to resign…say, if Trump can’t have a meeting with Fauci and Birx that that also includes lower-level and less-famous experts…then you have a culture that is going to go astray, probably in disastrous ways.

                  Of course, you have to do it right, you don’t just say to your immediate subordinate ‘well, you’re I think you’re probably wrong, so I’m going to get other advice’ and then announce the final decision in a way that undercuts that subordinate. But no one ever accused the Kaiser of being an especially effective or subtle leaders.

        2. That’s a little backwards.

          The demographic and economic trends tell the tale. After the Franco-Prussian war the French population had flatlined and their economy was not especially growing. Germany was still growing demographically and economically.

          After 1871 the new German Empire had nothing to gain by another war with France, and nothing remaining to prove either. However many in France were desperate for revenge, to regain both territory and their place as the predominant continental power. The Revanchist (from the French for ‘REVENGE’) movement in France considered that France had a window to act that was, at some point in the near future, going to close.

          France was desperate to go to war as soon as possible. Germany was led by idiots.

          1. Yeah I did feel the need to spell out the REVANCHIST thing for any watchers not specifically aware of how acutely French politics was shaped by a specific desire for revenge.

          2. The German military’s desire for war sooner rather than later is well documented.

            They knew they had nothing to gain per se, but they knew about the Revanchist movement. They knew it meant war and the larger that war was in coming the more likely Germany would be to face a two front war with France and Russia as Russia modernized.

            With the hindsight of history they should have sought early war with Russia to push it into revolution (imagine all the divisions used in Belgium and France sent east in 1914). However, they thought the war was inevitable and the sooner it came the more likely they were to win. Such a win would have at the least put the Revanchists on the backfoot for a generation. At best it would end France’s desire for revenge.

          3. France was paying five BILLION francs as “war indemnity” (tribute) to Germany after losing the war, on top of its own expenses, disruption of the economy, loss of population, etc. That sort of thing does tend to flatten the economy…

            That was one of the reasons Wilhelm was mad keen to invade France again; all that lovely, lovely money would fatten his treasury nicely. And his generals told him it would be much easier this time; waltz in, kick ass, be home in a few months; he’d have the respect of his peers, the action would help help all the not-all-that-unified pieces of his relatively new country think of themselves as “Germans”, and of course the money.

            1. Oh, crud, I forgot the French paying all that money. Which of course was why they wanted Germany to pay lots of money later, but the Germans whined and cried about Versailles being totally out of nowhere and unfair.

              The other forgotten thing was that the Franco-Prussian War was how the Germans made alliance with the new government of Italy, and thus allowed Italy to grab a lot of Papal States stuff. The French had a detached group that was guarding the Papal States, and the Franco-Prussian War made the French pull out.

              The Kaiser and Bismarck didn’t like the pope, and were running the Kulturkampf against German Catholics, so they were totally in favor of Italy taking over everything and kicking the pope out of Italy, or putting him in prison. They were a bit disappointed that it didn’t come to that. But Italy took over Rome and the Papal States on Sept. 20, 1870, right during the Franco-Prussian War, and right after the First Vatican Council.

              Nobody really asked the residents of the Papal States how they felt about it.

              1. And no, I don’t know why Austria-Hungary or Spain didn’t send in some troops informally as “volunteers” or “observers.” Freaking Bismarck probably had blackmail material on them or something.

        3. Bismark had negotiated a treaty to prevent that which Wilhelm the Second allowed to expire and then antagonized his cousin.

          To be fair to Willy and his crew, Bismarck had somehow managed to negotiate a treaty with Russia against Austria, and Austria against Russia. The writings I’ve seen on the “letting the treaty expire” was that while everyone knew it was a good idea to have those treaties, no one other than Bismark could figure out how to keep all those balls in the air at once. His successors felt they had to choose Austria or Russia, and for better or worse, they chose Austria.

          1. That is fair, but if Willy hadn’t sacked Bismark he might have trained up someone who could.

            And that still doesn’t explain his antagonizing Britain by naval expansion opposed by his own military.

            1. The very simplified version is that Willie needed the support of German nationalists in Parliament in order to counterbalance the Social Democrats (SPD). That led to the Naval League, and supporting it in exchange for checking the ambitions of the SPD. There’s a book entitled _We Men Who Feel Most German_ about the nationalism, politics, and gaming in the Reichstag, among other places.

              At one time I remembered more details, but it’s been 13 year since that class, and my allergies are kicking my tail today.

      3. My (limited) education also leaned on the interlocking treaties and assassination. One way to get a feeling how it happened is to play a game the old grognard in me loves, Avalon Hill’s Diplomacy. its simplistic in its mechanics but the whole thing of negotiating with all the other players and having to sometimes lie really accentuates how things went so badly south. But make make sure the folks you play it with don’t hold grudges because they may never forgive you for back stabbing them 🙂 .

        1. Heh. Reminds me of playing RIsk with some friends. They’re now divorced, but my wife and I remember that they never did get over the fact that one of them switched sides during a game and crushed their spouse’ armies.

          1. Diplomacy is like that but squared or cubed. It uses written hidden orders. So the loop is
            1) Negotiate for a fixed period of time (usually 15-30 minutes live, I’ve played by email and we used 3 days to a week of emailing)
            2) Write moves, this is usually 5-10 minutes
            3) Resolve moves (possibly done by an uninterested party, but the rules are VERY strict/complete so only the jerkiest of people will argue a point)
            Betrayal is very obvious as the moves are read. There have been times playing it that I wondered if fisticuffs would break out. DO NOT play with a spouse or significant other this can be relationship ending. No I haven’t experienced it but I saw a budding office romance trashed when one partner screwed the other (and not in a good way…).

            1. I learned the game in High School, with moves turned in and resolved every morning in a twenty-five minute break between second and third periods. Having a full day to negotiate with other players sometimes seemed insufficient.

              We also played in teams of two, allowing a negotiating player to plea, “It was my partner’s turn to move and he refused to abide our agreement! Support us in this next turn and I promise to support you in turn!!!”

              We also were know to prepare multiple written moves and sometimes allow other players to glimpse a set before it (r one very like it) was submitted.

              1. Dang RES I thought I had a cool high school. We played D&D and Metagaming Melee if we had no classes in a common area known as the pit. But Diplomacy takes it up a notch. I like the 2 player team concept (good cop bad cop anyone?). And yeah the old false move technique (until you hand it in it isn’t final…). The other technique a buddy and I called the Zimmerman telegram ploy. Tell someone you SAW someone else’s move. and lie about it.

                1. Starfleet Battles was the game at our high school, and kept the library copier stocked with dimes. (I think people were playing during study halls or other class breaks.) Diplomacy was always running at the university gaming club, though.

                  1. Played a fair bit of SFB in college. One of my apartment mates was an addict to SFB (And Avalon Hill Squad Leader) How did you finish a game? Any engagement above a simple pair of ships was hours long many a saturday night was spent on that if my girlfriend (now wife) had other things like homework to do.

                2. The best thing about the one move a day thing was it gave so much opportunity for subterfuge. Not only could you (or your partner) confer clandestinely, you could make a point of being see chatting with another power in order to rouse suspicions in a third party or even motivate their cooperation.

                  It was also extremely good practice at not taking things personally as there would be subsequent games when you’d need to negotiate with somebody who’d stabbed you in the back three games ago.

      4. The thing is, as it worked out the Germans could have just stomped the Russians as they actually did and left the western border garrisoned while they walked to Moscow.

        As noted, the French were wobbly enough that they possibly might have settled for a strongly worded diplomatic note and economic sanctions to fulfill their treaty obligations, and the British casus belli was their treaty obligations to Belgian neutrality under the 1839 Treaty of London. If the Germans left Belgium and France alone while they dealt with Russia (sort of a reverse Schlieffen Plan), and with half-again more troops on the Eastern front they did so with even more alacrity and quickly knocked Russia out of the war, with the end result of something like taking Ukraine from the Tsar, that might give quite a bit of pause to the French and British governments.

      5. There’s some really interesting reports about posters going up in Russian Poland at least three days before A-H gave the Serbs the ultimatum. The posters said, “Get ready to relocate because armies will be coming this way,” in effect. Also, American diplomats and military personnel in Russia wrote home that parades and some big military shows were abruptly cancelled and people shipped back to their units without any explanation. Since Russia had cracked into A-H’s military intel system once already, one wonders what was known and what was being planned by Russia.

      6. Long, long ago I started to look into WWI… not TOO seriously. I gave up fairly quickly as the more I looked, the less sense anything made. Hrmm… that’s rather like Vietnam, but that mess was smaller. Of course, there was the post WWII bias. WWII seems so simple (in cause-effect term) in comparison to many things – and, certainly in retrospect, it is EASY to distinguish Good (or at least NOT *that* evil) from “Good Heavens, that’s Just Plain EVIL!”

    2. Sort of, but reading the history of that time, it’s pretty clear that Europe was itching for a reckoning; if Germany hadn’t wanted to fight Russia and France, the mutual defense treaty with Austria would have gotten about as much enforcement as the invocation of NATO Article 5 back in 2001.

    3. There were a number of reasons. The interlocking treaties was the public reason. But, for instance, the Germans could still have declined to mobilize when Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary, arguing that Serbia had agreed to enough of the Empire’s demands, and the Austrians were therefore on their own. That probably would have kept the war limited to AH, Russia, and of course Serbia.

      There would have been diplomatic fallout, of course. But it *probably* wouldn’t have been as disastrous as the war turned out to be.

  14. So to break the causality chain on WWI after the Serbian op is in motion, one could:

    Change the ArchDuke’s schedule, or at least the published route;
    Stop the ArchDuke from moving out of the secure building until the route is scouted and safe after the first attempt to kill him failed;
    At least put the ArchDuke and his wife in a closed carriage;
    Stop the ArchDuke’s idiot driver from taking a wrong turn onto that side street losing his protection detail, and then stopping dead still right in front of that cafe where Gavrilo is sitting;
    Seat Gavrilo at an inside table with a bottle of hard booze and a pretty girl when he shows up at that cafe;
    Stand a couple of strapping cavalrymen on the ArchDuke’s running boards to absorb Gavrilo’s bullets.

    After that it gets harder:

    Convince the investigators it was somebody other than Serbia behind the comic opera plot;
    Convince the Empire to use an economic embargo to punish Serbia;
    Convince Serbia to explicitly and quickly agree to the Austro-Hungarian demand note (instead of kinda and too late);
    Convince the Tsar to not jump in on behalf of the Serbs;
    Convince the Kaiser to let the Austro-Hungarians sleep in the bed they made on their own;
    Convince the French that elan is not as important as they perhaps thought;
    Convince the British that their Empire will evaporate as a direct result of getting in bed with the French;
    Convince the British to go ahead with their retreat to the coast and evacuate the BEF plans after the Marne defeat and just exit the war;
    On September 2nd convince Moltke to not change the published plans into a grand encirclement and continue the in-place order of battle and planned push to take Paris;
    And in what I think is the last chance to end things quickly, on that same day right before 1st Marne convince von Kluck to just follow the new OOB from Moltke and stay in contact to guard the German Army’s right flank – in other word follow Moltke’s orders, not giving the reeling French and BEF any counterattack opening.

    Absent a quick German victory over the French, once the western front exits the maneuver phase I frankly don’t see a way to not go through the rest of the meat grinder.

    1. One does wonder that as Gavrilo was in the wrong place.. and Ferdinand wound up ALSO in the wrong place – and the SAME damn wrong place…. if this is Engineered History… and if THIS is the “best of all possible worlds”… DAMN, those other worlds must REALLY be crappy indeed!

      Of course, it could just be… “Reality makes no damn sense. It doesn’t have to.”

      1. You know, that IS a scary thought. Especially when you consider just how many holes in the swiss cheese had to line up to do that, all seemingly by accident.

        1. It’s the law of large numbers in action. That historical event was win-the-lottery unlikely, but “Someone has won the lottery” is something that occurs fairly frequently.

  15. I suspect that your real complaint is with the insanity of certain ‘historians’. Bad enough to interpret the facts in such…interesting ways, without they go changing the facts, too.

    1. My favorite opening quote on “Andromeda” was from the first season.

      “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it; those who fail to learn history correctly – why they are simply doomed.”

      ― Achem Dro’hm

      Sadly, I think pretty much everyone involved in inflaming the current mess falls into one of those two categories.

        1. I’m rewatching the series now, as I need something that doesn’t require quiet and thinking which leads to deeper spiraling.

          Just saw the quote for S2E7:

          One Mark V ECM unit, 1000 km of
          Fullerene cable, one low-yield nuclear warhead. Purpose:
          Surprise party for foreign dignitary.”
          Argosy Special Operations
          requisition form,
          CY 9512

          I can think of a few “dignitaries”, both foreign and domestic who I’d like to throw that party for.

  16. “There is a very stupid meme going around facebook that talks about how terrible it would be if Europe had ever been treated the way that Africa and Asia were treated, and partitioned and repartitioned at random by uncaring colonial powers.”

    Fans of the grand strategy video games made by Paradox have a term – “border-gore”. Or, alternately, “border-porn” these terms are used to describe the inevitable state of affairs a few decades into one of Paradox’s historical games – particularly Crusader Kings – when, due to wars, successions, and who knows what else, a chunk of territory starts to look like patchwork, with each province on the map represented by the controlling domain.

    And those colors rarely match the colors of the neighboring provinces.

    Most here are probably already aware, but kings during the Middle Ages often only had a loose grip on the subjects outside of the king’s immediate county. Those other counties were administered by noblemen who could sometimes get away with an awful lot. And then someone dies, some priest looks up a book of geneology, and the next thing you know the King of England is attempting to claim France. And some of the parts of what we would today call France are siding with him against their ostensible king.

    Or, alternately, the government of Great Britain takes the results of a clerk’s search through the geneology books, and offers the triple crown to some guy in Germany who can’t speak a word of English.

    Or – probably my favorite – the government of Sweden approaches one of Napoleon’s generals and asks him to accept the Swedish crown. Napoleon apparently believes that the general is joking when asked for advice, and brushes the general off. Said general then takes the crown, and ends up sending troops to fight against Napoleon at the Battle of Nations.

  17. You can pretend that WWI didn’t have anything to do with little itty bitty European “nations” being colonized, if you totally ignore all the centralization for several centuries, and all the 1848 crud.

    And if you ignore the entire history of Ireland, which should be somewhat hard to do.

      1. Hey Now!

        What do those idiots expect when they raid across the border and ally with England’s enemies! [Very Big English Dragon Grin]

          1. Of course, if the Scots came to America, then they weren’t idiots. 😀

            More seriously, my comment (while somewhat a joke) was meant to say that the problems between Scotland and England were not solely England’s fault.

            Both countries were filled with strong willed stubborn people and those sorts sometimes have problems living “next to” people just as strong willed & stubborn as them.

            1. More seriously, my comment (while somewhat a joke) was meant to say that the problems between Scotland and England were not solely England’s fault


              Are you calling the Scottish PUGNATIOUS or perhaps even ARGUMENTATIVE?!?!?

              The nerve! Who do you think you are, captain Obvious?

            2. We are the descendants of a long line of strong-willed, stubborn people who either won, or survived. You could even say we’ve been bred to be strong-willed and stubborn.

      2. The Scots have spent most of their history fighting their hereditary enemy…. the Scots, though to be fair the lowlanders are mostly Anglo Saxons, few Celts there.

      3. The true English, pushed north and walled into a reservation by the Roman invaders? Who long to push the Saxon-Danish-French mongrels out and reclaim their ancient homeland?

        Well, at least they’re quieter about it than the Welsh…

        1. Well, at least they’re quieter about it than the Welsh…

          The Welsh have much better singing voices.

    1. The fricking Low Countries, for Pete’s sake.

      Colonial possessions of the Hapsburg Spaniards ruled from afar for the benefit of Spain.

  18. I’m going to push back a bit on nationalism as a cause.

    Nationalism was a cause because for several nations involved, especially Balkan nations, it was the narrative used to hold together the displaced peoples tired of remote rulers, be they Ottomans or Germans. Nationalism also played a role in the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s response to the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand.

    Specifically, Hungarian nationalism played a role. While Fredinand had been the primary proponent, he was not the only one to recognize the Empire needed to move from two kingdoms, Austria and Hungry, that operated independently for internal affairs, but on the world stage were united by one Emperor, but three. Had Fredinand lived, some kind of Kingdom of Southern Slavs, say a Yugoslavia, was part of his plan. He would be the king, of course, but much of the possessions in the Balkans would be independent on internal affairs from Austria and Hungry.

    Hungarian leading lights did not like the loss of status they perceived this would create. It led them to push for harsher responses to moves for independents among Balkan slavs and against the already independent slavic states in the region.

    French nationalism played a role in wanting war with Germany. This lead to outreach to Russia after a certain Kaiser let a defense pact expire with them.

    That same German emperor, feeling inferior, decided he needed a Navy to challenge his Grandmother’s and then his uncle’s navy. While that isn’t nationalism, the inferiority of nobility in three empires: Germany, Austro-Hungry, and Russia, looks and smells a little like nationalism.

    A big part of the problem is shifting definitions of what is nationalism and what is an ethnic group. If a nation and an ethnicity are viewed as cultural groupings (and no, not “race=culture” groupings, but culture groupings), especially ones built on language, then yes, nationalism was a big part of the centrifugal forces in huge nations that drove the war.

    The AH empire had troops early in the war fire on each other because language differences had them thinking the other troops were Russians because they were speaking “Russian”. The fight over Alsace-Lorraine was driven by the all too common intermingling of German and French cultural groups. This would persist after the war when the borders around “nations” failed to account for such mixing, especially in the regions around Poland where people on every side of the borders, not just Germans in Poland, but Czechs in Poland, and Poles in both.

    The problem is the left has a narrow and 100% race based definition of nationalism that would make the Nazis proud, instead of an understanding of nation as culture and more specifically a linguistic notion. The later accounts for how people bond and who they trust to rule them much better than skin tone.

    1. actually in Europe it just is now taught as “having borders causes wars.” That’s the definition of nationalism I was pushing against. You said nothing I disagree with.

      1. It is well beyond being just “national borders causes wars”. The left’s ideology is the existence of European nations and the USA are inherently racist and evil and exist only to perpetuate oppression of the designated victim groups. This has been taught to them by their Marxist professors and it is why the chant “no borders, no walls, no USA at all”, along with now echoing the Mullahs “Death to America”.

        The activists in charge of BLM and the Antifa crowd along with the broader left are very clear that their goal is the fundamental destruction of Western Civilization itself as they openly demand “decolonization” of the entirety of civilization, including the nuclear family and Judaeo-Christianity (note that apparently they are perfectly okay with Islamic theocracy, such as that found in Iran).

          1. There’s an H Beam Piper story (“The Return”) where a character makes this argument in all seriousness. It’s Long After the End, and the leader of the contacted community says of his ancestors in the immediate aftermath “They did all sorts of things that would have been crimes if there had been any law, but since there was no law any longer, it was obvious that there could be no crime.”

            Of course this does make an implicit distinction between crimes and Bad Things, with laws against Bad Things (making them into crimes again) being Good Things.

            In any case, it looks to me like the Left is objecting to the wrong things being made illegal. In their view owning guns and using them for self-defense is legal but are crimes that there ought to be a law against, while looting and arson are against the law but shouldn’t be considered crimes.

            (Real world villains aren’t monsters because they want the innocent to suffer. They’re monsters because they have monstrous ideas about what counts as guilt.)

        1. They are ok with it for now. In the long term, probably not. In a different flavor, I know Wiccans who are progressive (and generally anti-Christian) who don’t realize the New Regime will stomp them into the ground as soon as it notices them. (Response meant for Cardshark).

        2. No, because they are still able to rob you in the street. Private property causes crime, which is why property is theft.

          OTOH, saying “No” causes rape. If all women (and men) said “Yes” there could be no rape.

          I probably oughtn’t say that; there clearly are people dumb enough to accept that argument.

      2. That’s curious. Here in the US I was very much taught having the wrong borders caused WW1. Based on that, we were taught Woodrow Wilson’s *spit* great moral crusade for correct borders should have prevented more wars if it wasn’t for the evil French and British and their treaty.

        Even though I agree, even though it is currently out of fashion, that the mismatch between where armies were at the end of the war and the Treaty of Versailles, were huge issues that lead to WW2, the borders thing is stupid.

        Especially in Eastern Europe there were no “correct” borders in terms of nationalism. At least the Turks and Greeks recommended it and at the end of the Turkish War of Independence traded populations (the same happened in Alsace-Lorraine after both wars) . The only way to correct borders in Europe, and most of the world, is ethnic cleansing, either voluntary or forced.

        We’ll learn the same if California succeeds and we let her go.

        1. I love the demographic maps of the eastern part of the Habsburg Empire. I put one up for the students and say, “OK, divide this evenly between each group, per Versailles.” They see the problem instantly.

        2. The Californians forget we already fought a nasty little war of the “right to secede” thing.

          Should California manage secession by whatever means, it’ll peel that scab off too.

          The Fed climbed on that tiger of their own free will. But like Hitler’s “no retreat” policy, it seriously compromises their ability to maneuver.

          1. Yeah, but people outside California are probably more likely to vote _for_ California secession.

            I’m pretty sure that if you can get the votes for a constitutional amendment, you could set up rules for a constitutionally legal secession, and then do a legal secession. Alternately, you could just make the amendment “California stops being US territory.”

            The thing is, the Civil War states didn’t ask the rest of the country, or even most of their own voters, if they wanted to allow those states to secede. It was all legislative branch stuff.

            1. Actually, I hadn’t considered that. If the Fed initiates the action, it’s not “secession”, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. They just stop being part of the US, like those little slices of border states that got “adjusted” in favor of Mexico or Canada. Nothing in my copy of the Constitution says the Fed can’t boot a state out of the Union…

              1. Please – not “boot a state out of the Union”!

                Reduce it to territory status. Gross accumulated debt (unfunded liabilities, for example) in excess of an amount to be determined (perhaps some multiple/percentage of state governmental revenue, such as gross receipts of all state incorporated political entities against accumulated liabilities, or perhaps liabilities as a function of state gross product) reduces a state to territory status, and puts the state and its sub-units into receivership, managed by a trustee organization embodied by presidential appointment subject to advise and consent of the Senate, authorized to audit, void and renegotiate all contracts with incorporated state political entities.

                Naturally, all elected representatives sitting in the Federal legislature would have their seats suspended, empowered as observers only, as with representatives from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. State trustees may enable election of territorial legislatures and governorship to serve in an advisory capacity with reins of government potentially being passed to the territorial entities as they meet basic criteria.

                They may petition for return to statehood once the cause of their devolution has been addressed and corrected (or on glide path to correction. So as to not unduly punish sizable portions of a territory for the intransigence of their neighbors application for restoration to statehood would be permitted to sufficiently large polities, e.g., Southern California, Central California, Eastern Washington, provided they meet the traditional criteria for statehood.

                What could be more reasonable?

                1. Building a wall around Seattle, Portland, and Frisco, and turning them into Federal Districts that have no political effect on the rest of the damn state

                  1. Building a wall around Seattle, Portland, and Frisco,

                    Works for me.

                    Whew, for a second or two, thought you were going to include Salem & Eugene. Salem, okay. But Eugene? Not in Eugene proper, but am in their stupid growth boundary. OTOH should they actually succeed they just might find out that Eugene is a bit more conservative than they thought. Would say “oh wait” maybe that isn’t why they’ve succeeded? But they’ve pulled some particularly stupid attempts that got them slapped down hard, over the last 55+ years.

        1. Well, obviously wars only happen between countries, right? And borders are what define countries.
          So, no border, no wars. Simple!

          … and I bet that if you turned that into a syllogism it would be completely invalid.

  19. I think that the last major innovation in government was bureaucracy – and that was mid-to-late Rome for Europe, iirc (early Rome having very little staff to run a large republic). Byzantium and Byzantine were after. That innovation has now become the core problem to successful governing.

    The interesting question is: Can the bureaucracy be disintermediated by technology? We seem close to “can”. “Will” is less clear. How will we get from here to there? Is direct democracy possible in a large nation-state if we all have customized/trained/personalized AIs that “know” how we would vote on things? If possible, is it a good idea?

      1. When I mention names of people never sufficiently to be damned, like Rousseau and Louis XIV, I tend to get a lot of blank stares.

    1. > Can the bureaucracy be disintermediated by technology?

      One take on that is in Joan D. Vinge’s “Outcasts of the Heaven Belt.”

  20. For those who might have heard about the entire SF Bay Area accidentally being moved to Mars yesterday:

    1. And yes – that’s pretty much what it looked like midday. Today is less orangey-red but still just as dark.

      1. That’s pretty much what it looked like when I visited there in the 1960s.

        Yes, they had photochemical smog there. It was real; I saw it. On the other hand, inflicting the Environmental Protection Agency upon the rest of the country was ridiculous…

    2. Saw some online pics of it yesterday, and confirmed with a friend up there.

      LA County, in contrast, is grey with brown tinges.

    3. The fun part is that the AQI wasn’t actually that bad because of the way the air currents were flowing. (As opposed to places like Eugene, OR, up in the 400-500 range.)

      1. Yep, it was really pretty good all day yesterday here in Silicon Valley, but it’s worse today:

        2020-09-10 21:31:13 UTC air quality:
        PM1.0: 41 ug/m3, PM2.5: 59 ug/m3, PM10: 83 ug/m3, PM2.5 AQI index 153 (unhealthy)

        1. Much worse here today – in my backyard right now the AQI reading is 349:

          2020-09-11 18:00:59 UTC air quality:

          PM1.0: 198 ug/m3, PM2.5: 299 ug/m3, PM10: 419 ug/m3, PM2.5 AQI index 349 (hazardous)

            1. Gee, they mismanage forests all across the west and then, SURPRISE!, they burn! Whodathunkit?

              I was just making the point this morning that those1960s forestry managers and hydroelectric dam and nuclear power plant and highway builders and such all really did know what they were doing, in contrast to the folks in charge nowadays.

              1. Fires are a normal part of this ecosystem. Sequoia cones only open and release their seeds when burned, for example. The fires have to be properly managed, and anything we build here has to take into account the fact that the woods, they are a-gonna burn every few years.

                This ain’t a natural disaster, it’s just natural.

                1. This ain’t a natural disaster, it’s just natural.

                  Results are natural. Causes, not 100%. At least the Holly Farm Fire (based on where it started on hwy 126) is the result of strong winds bringing trees down on power lines, or just bringing down power lines on dry vegetation (which in this area is trees, mostly). Not an unknown event, but generally after a lot of rain. The area can get east winds, which makes what is dry, worse. Weather forecasters have been warning this was going to happen if their forecasts were correct, per reports (I guess, we were out of the area).

                  I do know that the winds Tuesday, not as bad, as reported last weekend, but still “wow”, were from the west. Headwind all the way across Idaho on Hwy 84 (about 6 mpg FYI), Oregon hwy 20 between Ontario & Bend, & down 58 (mpg improved so there’s that). 1/2 ton P/U 4×4 with canopy towing a trailer, it was interesting. I wasn’t driving & I could tell hubby was fighting the rig. OTOH he never drives with both hands clutched on the steering wheel at 50 mph, when the speed limit (84 Idaho) is 80 mph either (granted the truck won’t tow the trailer at 80 mph, but still); and he was clutching the wheel with both hands, that might have been a clue that the wind was a problem.

                  True natural causes would be lightening, dry or not. Then there are arsonists taking advantage of the other fires (their motivations? WTHK).

                2. There’s certainly natural fires. But suppress those for 60 years while prohibiting any other management practice and you get a disaster.

                  There are accounts from the 1840 time frame observing fires in the sequoia forests where the observer notes the fires burning closer, so they step over the fire and then watch it keep burning slowly away. No ladder fuel or massed fallen trees, and no huge number of dead standing trees like the vast ravages of the bark beetle in the Sierra foothills, which are prohibited from being cleared because nature.

                  There are lots of burned out Sequoia in the fire complex north of Santa Cruz – Big Basin State Park was nuked. That would not have happened if the natural small fires were allowed to happen, or alternately if controlled burns and clearing, i.e. the forest management practices from 50 years ago, were allowed. But allow nothing and put out everything and you get 50 years of fuel piling up, and when that happens the fire makes it into the crowns of the trees and it’s a big deal.

                  The forests will recover just fine. It’s the cost to the people living there, and the hazardous air quality across a major metropolitan area and the resulting health costs down the line, which are the real price to pay for not managing the forests.

                  1. You damned fools! It’s ALL Global Warming, GLOBAL WARMING I tells you!

                    We have angered the fire gods and they are sending their messengers to warn us. We must stop using fire — whether hydrocarbon or nuclear, to power our technology.

                    And take care we do not anger the rain gods by intruding on their cycle. What falls from the sky must be allowed to return without interferece by us!

                1. You sure they’re not just getting lost in the woods and lighting signal fires? 😛

                  Here’s hopin’ they light themselves up like that idjit on U-Toob, only they finish the job.

                2. I’m not sure it’s credible that it’s fully / solely Antifa. There was a post of a NY Antifa chapter congratulating their PNW comrades *spit* on helping draw attention to climate change….

                  However, most of the mugshots I’ve seen so far of local captures tends not towards the typical progressive/ Anitfa Look – just cracker dipsh*ts.

                  But thankfully everything I have seen is that where I live is not going to go past the stage two of evacuations (get ready to go).

  21. So what is not counted was the initial colonial oppression (and intermarriage – no hot Denisovan girlfriends in European DNA so far) by African H.Sap over Neandertal in Europe; the Colonial Oppression of the Asian Horse People when they rolled over (and intermarried with) the European farmers and spawned the Kantauroi myths; the Colonial Oppression of the Alexandrian Greeks who rolled over (and intermarried with) everyone from Egypt to India; the Colonial Oppression of the Persian invasion that the Spartan 300 (and associated uncounted Helots, and 1,100 Boetians) delayed at the Hot Gates; the Colonial Oppression of the Carthaginians who planted resource expropriating colonies (and intermarried) all over the Mediterranean region; the Colonial Oppression of the Romans from Rome who expanded their administrative oversight to the entire region; the Colonial Oppression of the Vandals and Goths and Visigoths and Ostrogoths and Othergoths who conquered right over the late western empire and set up shop (as Sarah notes); the Colonial Oppression of the Romans from Constantinople who retained the right half of the empire until the Colonial Oppression of the muslims rolled in (and intermarried); the Colonial Oppression of the Vikings who not only raided, but also set up shop as kingdoms (and intermarried) both on the continent and in Britain; the Colonial Oppression of the Normans who invaded britiain and took over (and intermarried) – and all that is before right around the 11th century AD.

    And that’s just Europe.

    Does the Zulu invasion and conquest of what’s now most of South Africa just a while before the paler folks arrived qualify as a Colonial Oppression?

    It seems to me that this whole Colonial Oppression thing is just picking arbitrary starting and ending dates, and declaring that before was good and after was bad, so somebody owes me reparations.

    1. IIRC, the Aztec and Incan empires had some pretty hot Colonial action going on, and over in Asia the Colonialism in India and S.E. Asia was never-ending — although the ignorance of Euri-centric critics probably has them ignoring those.

  22. The biggest problem with WW1 for socialists is that it happened. That is probably the root of their war on nationalism.

    They were convinced that the workers would refuse to fight a nationalist war. There were efforts, especially in France, to strike against the war. Perhaps if Jean Jaurès had not been assassinated that would have occurred, although I’m doubtful.

    Still, the fact is the workers rose up in most nations in patriotic ferver to fight for “King and Country”. Even oppressed peoples of the Balkans fought early battles for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at least against Russia, with a good degree of enthusiasm. Sometimes too much, mistaking anyone who spoke a different languages as “Russians” and shooting them up.

    This failure of Marx is a direct responsibility for fascism, though Mussolini, a dedicated Marxist prior to the war, and the Gramscian idea of false consciousness. Each was designed to explain/correct for the Italian worker feeling more solidarity with the Italian nobility than the German worker.

  23. Re: “In the nineteenth century that changed.”

    Just to add to your excellent thesis, Sarah, I’d like to point out that the nineteenth century saw three gigantic surges of change in the available degree of centralization, not only in Europe but worldwide:

    1) Transportation. Trains on land and steamships at sea made it possible to move large amounts of cargo across large distances swiftly and reliably – something that no one had ever had before. Large-scale long-range commerce became not just practical, but also profitable.

    2) Weapons. In this crowd, probably ’nuff said about that. 🙂

    3) The big one: COMMUNICATIONS. Trains and steamships could also carry mail rapidly and reliably. Even faster was the “Victorian Internet” of world-wide telegraph cables. You could send a message from Calcutta to London in hours instead of months, and get a reply just as fast! You can’t micromanage a nation when it takes days to get news and send orders, or weeks to move an army. But you can certainly do it when it only takes hours to exchange messages and a day or two to move an army.

    Seems to me that with all those advances, centralization of authority was pretty much inevitable.

    1. Yes. Limited communications *forced* a certain amount of decentralization…but as communications improved, to centralize or to decentralize became more of a conscious choice. Too often, the choice is made poorly.

      Many corporations today are over-centralizing, IMO, driven in part to what they think is the glorious potential of ‘big data.’ Inventory systems that ‘push’ product out to branch stores, based on the conclusions of the automated system and sometimes also of analysts at headquarters–without input from the store manager–lead to anomalies such as snow blowers offered for sale in South Florida.

    2. One of my interesting freelance jobs a couple of years ago, involved transcribing mostly mid-19th century letters, in the archives of a certain university, which had been from a very prominent investor and industrialist – an inventor/industrialist of particular interest to the provider of that job. He hired me to transcribe the various letters, and provided PDF scans of the original materiel … which turned out to be totally fascinating. It was like getting to know various members of the inventor/industrialists’ family through a keyhole. I got quite fond of some of them, at a remove…
      Anyway, there was a series of letters written by the inventor/industrialists’ brother in law, when he was staying in Paris around the mid-1850s, where the writer mused about how nice it would be, to have a kind of pocket telegraph machine, wherein he could instantly connect and converse with friends and kin, no matter how far away they were …

      1. It’s a good thing France didn’t have our patent bureau back then, or they would have granted a patent on that idea and his descendants would be suing Apple AND Samsung!

    3. You can’t micromanage a nation when it takes days to get news and send orders, […]. But you can certainly do it when it only takes hours to exchange messages

      Sort of a “Babelfish Apocalypse.”

    4. It’s that “Industrial Revolution” thing again. Have I mentioned Abraham Darby yet? Yes? Okay, I’ll shut up.

      Generals and politicians changed lines on the map. But Darby changed how civilizations *work*.

  24. I think all the discussions of why the Great War happened leave out one major factor.

    The reasons it started were NOT the reason it kept going.

    All the Great Powers had a reason to fight, but not the SAME reason. The Austrians wanted to avenge their dead Archduke (and grab Serbia). The Russians wanted to protect Serbia (and expand their influence in the Balkans). The Germans wanted to mend fences with the Austrians (and maybe move up another notch in the Great Power standings). The French wanted revenge. The British wanted to protect their naval advantage (and keep the Low Countries away from transatlantic trade).

    But Europe was a simmering pot of political dissatisfaction. All the major powers had internal political problems. The monarchies had working classes who wanted a bigger say, the French were dissatisfied with the Third Republic. The British…they’d had a soft coup that had gutted the ability of the House of Lords to veto the Commons five years earlier.

    And circling like sharks were the Communists. Remember that Communism is not merely socialist, but also expressly transnationalist and revolutionary. Mass murder is baked in the cake with these people. As is exporting that mass murder. And they were VERY active. Feeding the fires not merely of dissent, but of violence.

    When the war began, it was clear by the end of 1914 that it was looking like a stalemate. After Gallipoli, it was definitely a stalemate, with the Germans ahead on points. But after Verdun and the Somme, the Allies could not make peace on reasonable terms without risking a Red revolution. So they kept feeding the fire.

    Which, of course, handed Russia to the Communists, and ultimately turned Germany over to the Fascists. A high price to pay.

    1. This this this. That’s why all my break-the-chain ideas above are at the start – the “keep going” stuff is baked in pretty deep.

    2. I think there’s something here-you had in the 19th Century a lot of the governments of Europe becoming more centralized (in one way or another). The “soft revolt” in England probably put quite a few of the still remaining monarchs on notice, because they could see how easily they could be next. It didn’t help that the socialists and communists were becoming more capable and powerful. Even the wait of a few more years could have seen a more successful version of the post-WWI Spartacus revolt in Germany.

      It didn’t help that the armies had good to great strategic mobility, but terrible tactical and operational mobility. And, this was the first time since the Napoleonic Wars that fully European powers faced off against each other on an open battlefield. Even if they had listened to the lessons of the American Civil War and some of the other conflicts, they didn’t really expect how war had changed. Even when the Franco-Prussian War happened, it wasn’t a war on the same scale as the First World War.

      And, the tight, interlocking nature of European governments, the perpetual issues of the French government being…well, French, and a Germany that wanted to become the power that centuries of careful manipulation between France and Russia had kept it from being were all tinder on the massive power keg of war.

      All to be set off by two gunshots in Sarajevo.

      1. And none of it was helped by what seemed to be the long-standing English/British policy of supporting the second-strongest European power against the strongest, in order to keep the vultures away from the British Isles. Most of the time that meant supporting whoever against France, but by the late 1800s with France in decline and Austria-Hungary breaking at the seams, that meant supporting France against Germany.

        Simplistic, but definitely a factor in the mess.

          1. True, that. I think we’re currently in the longest period between major European wars in known history.

            All the noise the Allied powers made about Prussia being to blame for all the wars starts to look really sad when you look at a timeline of European wars.

            Personally I think they were scared that a nation that managed to build itself from next to nothing to the #3 power in Europe within a century twice would do it again and win this time.

            1. Which, of course, leads to the question of what the next European war will look like.

              I think is is going on right now in a “cold”/fifth-generational way. Turkey has weaponized their migrants-give the regime money and we won’t flood your countries with our people. BREXIT and related “leave the EU” movements are happening, Poland is cozening up with the US as much as it can, NATO is a hollow suit…and Germany is being Germany again.

              1. The next European war is going to be UGLY. And “civil”. I expect to see multiple countries imploding and the chaos that follows as they go failed state all over everything.

                Hell, Italy used to be a laughing stock with its multiple political parties and non-functional government where they had to have a coalition of about ten different groups just to form a government. As far as I know that hasn’t changed, just been papered over by the EU rules. And they’re not the only one.

                1. I think we’ll see either “secular-Islamic” governments in a lot of places, or old-school ethnic cleansing. Hell, if you wanted to clean out a lot of the problems, weld plates over the bottom floor of the worse banlieues, cut the water and power and cell service, wait for nightfall, and drop CBW people on the roof with special gear. Wait until the next night, vent, and either clean them out or demolish them.

                  1. You won’t get any arguments about that solution from me.

                    My feel was that when 9/11 happened, the US should have claimed that any nation providing material or other support to non-government organizations claiming to be “at war” against the USA had de facto declared war against the USA and would be treated as such. Domestic support of said organizations would therefore be treason, and treated as such.

                    The screams of outrage would have been epic, but after the first enemy was glassed over, I suspect things would have settled.

                    I do think it would take glassing over Saudi Arabia, though. And I guarantee that even letting the entire population of the hell-hole know a month in advance that they will be “glassed” they wouldn’t leave – which would be ugly, but… the fault would lie with them, not us. We gave appropriate warning. And that’s a culture that considers anything *except* overwhelming force to be weakness.

                    1. I was tempted to think that way, as well.

                      But, we might have taken a while to give quite a few of the Islamic countries problems that they have been exporting for years their troublesome youths that would never be able to amount to anything that would be causing revolutions in their countries out somewhere to do something. Do some small amount of funding “to spread the jihad,” and they’ll die out there and not be a problem at home.

                      Then, the jihadists started to play the game with Americans and discovered the same thing that too many people have found out too late-you let Americans out to play, they’ll go and stomp you.

                      And however much you cry out for jihad in the mosque, you really don’t want to die, so you head back home or somewhere else that the “fight can be fought!” and maybe won.

                      Which meant that a lot of these people went back home….which didn’t want them in the first place and now they have to deal with them…

            2. To be honest, the Prussians were usually visible *somewhere* in most conflicts. Prussian mercenaries were experienced, competent, effective, and affordable; all of Europe hired Prussians to fill in spots in their orders of battle. The British used them in America in the Revolutionary War; the Union hired Prussian “military advisers” in the US Civil War, even the Chinese used them. So, hey, a more believable scapegoat instead of simply blaming it all on “the Jews” again…

              1. Considering the place was mostly crappy farmland, had buggerall in the way of natural defenses, and was wedged between multiple larger and wealthier empires, war was probably the only thing they *could* do to have a hope of surviving, at least until they adopted the Industrial Revolution.

                And yeah, blaming “the Jews” would have gone down like a lead balloon after those photos coming out from the camps. Not that some didn’t try, but still… No, let’s blame the guys who got really good at fighting so they could survive, and not the bastard Austrian/Bavarian who brainwashed an entire country.

                It’s not like the Austrians were any more humane. They just weren’t as competent when it came to fighting.

    3. Largely agreed but I wouldn’t so much say that Austria wanted to ‘grab Serbia’ as weaken Serbia and deter it from interfering in A-H internal politics. Which it had been doing rather severely, trying to brew race wars.

      Which A-H at the time was actually vulnerable to, thus the necessary severity of their response.

      1. This is one of those things where the logical thing would be to say, “Whoa! WTF do we want Serbia for? It’s full of Serbians! They’ve been a major pain in the ass for everyone who has managed to plant their flag there. Why don’t we invade someone else?!”

        Of course, if Plan B was “invade Albania” it might be a wash…

    4. And circling like sharks were the Communists. Remember that Communism is not merely socialist, but also expressly transnationalist and revolutionary. Mass murder is baked in the cake with these people. As is exporting that mass murder. And they were VERY active. Feeding the fires not merely of dissent, but of violence.

      We also have to remember that this was an era where bombing random civilian targets wasn’t so much “terrorism” (in the modern understanding, not the dictionary definition) as “table stakes to show you are a Real Movement”.

      It also provides some perspective on the LARPers of today. They can’t even replicate the low level bombing campaign of the previous commie generation, let alone the Good Ole Days. “As Farce” indeed.

      1. . They can’t even replicate the low level bombing campaign of the previous commie generation, let alone the Good Ole Days.

        Desire and ability, they probably could.

        Response from law enforcement?

        Now that is where it gets sticky…. They can’t really appeal to idealism, they’re going to be shopping the same places the Islamic and cartel terrorists do.

        So they’ll get caught up in the same safeguards against those guys, the legal ones (we’ve caught a lot of terrorists who never get beyond local news, because nobody died) and the civil ones (huh, that guy gives me the creeps, I’m going to be mysteriously out of most of what he wants when he shows up to pay in cash) and the society ones. (who else pays a lot more attention to guys putting stuff in garbage cans or walking around with, say, pressure cookers?)

        1. Response from law enforcement? Now that is where it gets sticky …

          More than sticky – it might directly affect police funding.

          Oregon Democratic House Speaker’s Legislative Director Arrested Over Portland Riots

          More than 50 people were arrested in Portland, Oregon from last weekend’s riots where militant anarchists have now surpassed 100 consecutive days of terror attacking police and destroying businesses.

          Among those taken into police custody includes Kristina Narayan, a 29-year-old professional whose LinkedIn profile identifies her as the legislative director for Democratic Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek. Her arrest was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday. Narayan has been with Kotek’s office since September of 2016, according to her online profile.

          1. That is *interesting*.

            Now I’m wondering if part of why the Weather Underground types were able to do stuff was because it wasn’t being eyeballed by the feds, and a bunch of guys who were in the military for 9/11.

    5. It rather seems there could not have NOT been a World War… seemed to be an atmosphere just filled with acetylene and there WAS gonna be a spark. Just a matter of which bit of static set things off.

    6. > All the Great Powers had a reason to fight, but not the SAME reason.

      The tiff between the Dual Monarchy and Serbia would have remained local, under ordinary circumstances.

      Wilhelm II declared war on August 1, 1914. After that, the only real choice anyone had was which side they were going to choose.

      “The avalanche has already started. It it too late for the pebbles to vote.”

  25. Those who deny the partitioning of Europe have never heard of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, or the fact that Poland hasn’t really existed for more than half of the last 250 years.

    Actually, when I was in middle school, we had a weekly “current events” report. I found that by going to the back half of the front section of the newspaper (remember those?), I’d come up with stuff of lasting consequence, ignored by most of my classmates, and that’s how I saw the early signs of Yugoslavia breaking up, because it was in there every week. (Most of the actual front page stuff sank, you know.)

    1. Or all the wars of the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th Centuries, etc.

      As someone with Polish ancestors who really wanted away from the Tsar, yeah it’s funny that nobody knows anything when it comes to history.

    2. Look at China. It may or may not be the second most powerful country in the world right now. But up until about 75 years ago, it was split up among various warlords, with only a nominally in-control government. And said government shortly thereafter lost power to a particularly nasty warlord.

      And that’s the normal state of affairs in China for long periods of time. Even some of the important dynasties have amounted to “the dynasty that controlled over half of China while it was active, but still had one or two large competing kingdoms operating at the same time”.

      1. Heck, they recently had a big deal tiff, where the next-door city was sending in police to fight the Wuhan police on the roads and bridges, to keep Wuhan Flu people out of their city and province.

        Right there is something you wouldn’t really see in most countries, because it tells you that the other province isn’t really considered their countrymen.

      1. While not an expert on Jewish Law, I believe that Jewish authorities have said Jewish Law isn’t completely binding in Live Or Death situations.

        IE You do what you must do to preserve life (either your life or your animals life).

        1. Hence, the Savior’s comment about an ox being stuck in the mire on the Sabbath, back when the Romans ran Israel. That particular set of rulings has been around for a *long* time.

        2. It is in fact fully binding, as one is commanded, as an override on almost everything else, to preserve life

  26. Don’t neglect the influence of the first big modern era race-baiters, the Pan-Slavs. None of it good.

    1. I’d argue somehow keeping the Eastern Roman Empire (including Egypt and North Africa) viable and in place as a buffer between The Religion of Peace and Europe proper would have been a very big Different Thing. Much of the mess that is the Balkans was due in large part to that area being the volatile boundary between expansionist Ottomans and the post-Roman states of Europe.

  27. Germany as they came up to World War I was in the unenviable place of being too small to be a large country, and too large to be a small country. The easy-to-take territories-both in Europe and overseas-was long gone by the time there was a Germany other than a mass hallucination in middle Europe. There was a lot there, but there wasn’t enough to go further. They had no ports that gave them direct access to the Atlantic that didn’t either require sailing around England or having to go through bottlenecks such as the Straight Of Dover in the face of one of the largest and best navies in the world. They lacked easy access to a number of strategic materials with the technology they had. And, trying to build up a naval force that could challenge the British and the French was nearly impossible.

    The only surprise was that the war did last as long as it did.

  28. Exactly the thesis of JFC Fuller – whose book my mother had on her bookshelf, along with all of Bruce Catton’s histories. In the end, the great and good establishment military of Great Britain and Europe had not taken any note of how technology had changed in the half a century since Napoleon when it came to full-frontal bloody war. Some of the later Civil War sieges and campaigns prefigured what happened on the Western Front, eighty years later. And the professional soldiery of Europe basically dismissed the ACW as ‘two armed mobs chasing each other around the country.”

  29. First, they tell you what you’re not allowed to Do.
    Then, they tell you what you’re not allowed to Say.
    Finally, they tell you what you’re not allowed to Think.

    The left-wing Democrats are at Step 2, and they’re pushing REAL hard at Step 3.

  30. The theory that Socialism and Imperialism explain Europe in the last century only makes sense if you ignore everything from pre-Roman times up through Bonaparte and the Franco-Prussian war. That includes ignoring Rome’s expansion and collapse, intermingled with various invasions by Goths and the like, the Ottoman Empire, the invasions by the hordes of Attila and the Mongols (Temujin and others), the Danish invasions of the British Isles, the Viking conquest of the Rus, the expansion and contraction of the Polish and Kievan empires, Swedish invasion of their neighbors and pretty much all other European history before 1890 or so.

    In other words, this new spin on the Faults of White Peoples is utter nonsense and only makes sense to the insane.

    That is to say, it only makes sense to modern interpreters of History (calling them Historians is an insult to students of History), giving us such contrary to evidence narratives as the 1619 Projection and Bellisles, myth of guns in America. They follow not Kleio but Procrustes, folding, spindling and mutilating facts to fit their theories.

    Fie upon them, each and every one.

  31. If you want to talk about imperialism as a cause, don’t forget the Serbs. Quite a few people seem to think all nationalists are Black Hand partisans in disguise.

    I gather that the victorious powers in WW-II thought borders were important, and arranged a few mass migrations to make sure that ethnicities got shoveled into more or less convex nations. Did that work?

  32. I’ve been seeing commentary on the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Compton Saturday, and everybody seems to be missing something.

    The suspect is about 4 feet tall. Look at the video; he’s substantially shorter than the car, and had to raise his arm head-high to shoot through the window.

    According to standard growth charts, that makes the suspect 7 or 8 years old.

    Look at the video again, watch the suspect shoot, and run away, and tell me that’s not a child.

    Somebody gave a 7-year-old kid a gun and said, “Go shoot those two cops!” Then they stood around laughing about it.

    The mob that tried to block the hospital emergency room so the wounded officers couldn’t be treated sure showed up on short notice, didn’t they?
    If you use violence and brutality to bring about social change, your cause will be taken over by violent brutes.

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