Not all conspiracy is willful and deliberately planned. All too often, it would seem, a first germ is picked up, coddled and embellished by new hands, because it fits with their prejudice or wishful thinking, and so fortuitous conspiracy is midwifed by unwitting subsequent conspirators. Thus many strange and persistent mass delusions could be explained, from the furthering by all of the Piltdown Man hoax to the great Flying Saucer myth.
All history of human conflict converges on the fact that without absolute intransigence of purpose no victory could ever be achieved, for it is always has been that the side that blinks is the one routes. It is equally true, conversely, that it is this same intransigence that has precipitated the most destructive wars of recent centuries. The art of statesmanship, then, is just as much the knowledge of when to show flexibility and when to grow backbone, at the time when the nation’s interest can no longer be served by accommodation. To advocate perpetually for peace, as it is for war, will be to court destruction.
It is a fallacy that in war technology always trumps manpower. It has not proved true in either conventional or guerrilla warfare. In World War II, Germany enjoyed technological superiority over the allies throughout the conflict, and Japan did so in the first years. This is not even to mention the numerous irregular conflicts, in which militias fighting oftentimes with nothing better than old flintlocks defeating far better-armed antagonists.
While it is true that the welfare state owes its existence to Bismarck and his reforms, it is also true that Bismarck created it in order to defuse the much more radical agenda being advocated by the German Socialists, thus inaugurating the grand social democratic bargain that holds sway in Europe to this day — despite the cracks around its edges — and has been the cornerstone of the social democratic agenda in the United States since the New Deal. Continue reading
There is no dearth of published parallels of the American polity with the Roman Empire — and no dearth of refutations, either — but, it seems that a closer similarity can perhaps be found between the United States as it exists today and the Republic. We must recall that the stories we associate with Roman dissipation, Tacitus’ class-based calumnies notwithstanding, belong mostly to that period. To the republic also belong the great existential trials of the rising nation, personified as they are in Hannibal and Mithridates, not to mention Spartacus. Continue reading