Category Archives: History

Max Hastings: Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War

As the centennial of the First World War unfolds, the books get published.  Max Hastings, generally speaking, conservative, has a simple challenge to the ‘revisionists’ as it relates to someone like Harry Elmer Barnes: Germany was guilty of starting the war.

His case is simple, traditional and persuasive, though his approach is novel, and quote “rightwing”: the Kaiser Reich did not deserve to win (appealing to the Anglo-Saxon favor for the Great Game), and therefore the French-Russian-British-American men did not die without a purpose.

The insights of the book include putting a number on German atrocity in Belgium (~3000 dead) while attacking the propaganda, and putting some context into the general paranoia of the age about guerrillas that existed on all sides (ah, that “healthy” American patriotic import).  Hastings also does a very good job of demonstrating the amount of social unrest at the time that put all the regimes in quite a predicament politically–they were weak.

This conflict, as history is nothing but a political battlefield in our time, extends to our own thing, and reveals some of the many splits in our American againstist past.

Revilo Oliver scolded Mises for defending British Great War propagandist, Arnold Toynbee, just for example, and yet most modern againstists associate both with general historical revisionism.  These problems and issues are for college students to unwind and investigate (since they are working on our dime, and there are no professors at convention.)

The Germanophiles in the United States that still support some version of an EU lean heavily on liberal revisionism to claim that Germany is the rightful Imperium for the Continent.  And what the Wehrmacht could not do in war, the Germans have done with industry and finance. (And interesting to note, there is another reason that Holocaust ‘revisionism’ is suppressed which has to deal with German-Russian relations in modern times, deemed to be more important than liberal traditions of free inquiry.)

That said, Max Hastings writes a history of the First World War that appeals to Euro-skeptics, but he fails to reach us Gen-Xers by just saying the entire ruling class of the era was rotten—which unites us with those warrior poets who exhausted themselves in their games.  And the title had so much promise.

Celebrating extremists

What do you do when you want to preserve your culture within a conformist, multicultural empire? There’s only one thing you can do: Resist. But if you do, you’ll be called many things, including “racist” and “zealot.”

One such resistance movement made it clear it wanted nothing to do with “diversity,” and instead preferred to revive the traditions of its own people. These rebels were forced to oppose some of their own who had sold out to the occupiers. In a way, it’s understandable so many let themselves be coopted into supporting the empire. It paid to do so. The sell-outs were more wealthy than the extremists who rejected multiculturalism.

Eventually, the extremists had to fight their own people who had sided with the empire. In the end, the extremists won, though the struggle was frequently grim and dirty. But because they succeeded in rescuing their heritage, those extremists — or “Zealots” — are now celebrated as heroes.

And that’s the real story of Hanukkah.

This day in history

In 1776, the Society for the Protection of Loyal Colonists (SPLC) issued a report warning of the rise of the so-called “Patriot Movement” in the American colonies. As reported in the Boston General Advertiser, SPLC spokesman Marcus Potok announced his organization had been monitoring the takeover of royal legislatures, militias, and town councils by anti-government extremists.

“Dangerous men such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin have stoked the fires of sedition and radicalism among the King’s subjects,” Potok wrote in his report. “As a result, illegal militias have seen explosive growth, fueled by a furious reaction to much-needed revenue laws duly enacted under the authority of the King.”

Potok promised that his organization, in close coordination with King George III’s government, would work to end extremist activity in the colonies. “Our aim is sometimes described as just monitoring these hate groups. I want to say that our aim is to destroy these groups.” Then he added, “After all, we’re talking about the mightiest empire in the world, one that a vast majority of its subjects will remain loyal to, despite the heated rhetoric of a few rabble-rousers.”

Loyalists were assured the “Patriot Movement,” while boisterous and potentially violent, had little chance of success.

Said Potok, “As long as the enlightened merchants of New York and Boston continue to donate to our organization, the SPLC will expose these self-styled ‘Patriots’ for what they are, dangerous, hateful radicals.”

Here’s where the story ends…

Lon Horiuchi, conservative Catholic, was the most hated man of the 90s in ‘patriot’ circles in a storyline gone wrong, or worse, a designed storyline with ugly implications.  Horiuchi had shot and killed a woman at Ruby Ridge and was on post at Waco to kill targets by order of the American government.

The killer of Protestants in Idaho and Waco, he escaped punishment for simply following orders and being competent at his chosen occupation.

In the context of the same storyline, Catholic conservative, Eric Rudolph, began a lone wolf campaign against the modern world.  Of course, Eric Rudolph was painted in the Big Media as a crazy Prot, but that was not the case.

Like “Passion of the Christ” that would follow a few years later—if a bit of a reach here–the mildly aware, if few, Prot and Catholic, were sympathetic to the general authenticity of the position.

Our handlers observed as much and adjusted.

The appointment of Waco criminal Boykin–the very chap who suggested use of CS gas– to the ‘conservative’ Family Research Council and the apparent publicity around America’s “greatest” sniper, suggest a calculated marketing strategy.

Until very recently, when America’s greatest sniper, was gunned down at a rifle range, by an Iraq War vet.  The mental illness angle will be floated as it always is, but for readers of ‘90s patriot classic, “Unintended Consequences”, something else is to be observed.

It all falls apart, on so many level, and yet, all we have tried to do was prevent this unwinding.


Spielberg’s Lincoln a “bloated $50-million history lesson”

We Southerners know that history is on our side. Defenders of the Empire who try to cherry-pick historical facts usually end up looking rather silly. Yes, we say to apologists of empire, let’s debate history. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is the latest attempt to justify the president who mounted a counter-revolution to the Revolution of 1776, thus re-establishing the supremacy of the government over the people.

But the reaction of fans and critics hasn’t exactly been what Spielberg expected. For starters, Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln fails to create a believable, sympathetic character. One fan echoed the reaction of many others: “Is it me or does Abe Lincoln sound a lot like Mr Burns?”

Rex Reed’s review, entitled, Arid Abe: Lincoln Is as Wooden as Washington’s Teeth, not only rips Spielberg’s clumsy propaganda, but goes on to present facts about Lincoln and the real purpose of his crusade formerly seen only in pro-Southern circles.

The movie, says Reed, is a “colossal bore.” He finds it “so pedantic, slow-moving, sanitized and sentimental that I kept pinching myself to stay awake—which, like the film itself, didn’t always work.” Ouch.

And in response to the film’s heavy-handed Lincoln worship, which is really empire-worship, Reed observes:

In reality, Lincoln believed in equality under the law, but not racial equality; he had no use for blacks and maintained a strong personal belief that whites were a superior race. In his efforts to get his amendment passed, Honest Abe was not so honest either. He and his cabinet of rivals were not above bribery, lies, suspending habeas corpus or bending the Constitution to break the South’s economic infrastructure.

What’s that? Lincoln’s war was NOT about freeing the slaves, but just another war for power and treasure? Do tell.

Sons, Fathers, and Folk Inquiry

Reports of a 9/11 skeptic film in the works float across the Internet.  Those familiar with the various story lines are unsure just what sort of script will be put together, and one assumes a narrative of the more Leftist tinged angles with the wrong Sheen and Ed Asner involved in the project.  Certainly, we would all be shocked to see the Dancing Israelis make an appearance.

 Woody Harrelson is slated to be in the movie.  Harrelson got his start as a “country bumpkin”, a hayseed of a bar tender in the then hit sit-com, Cheers—he was sort of like the new baby added to more family centric sit-coms, but he held his own and the character earned more lines, if not quite Frasier’s level of success on the show.

At the peak of Cheers, Woody’s father, Charles Harrelson, who was then in prison on a murder charge was identified in both a BBC series and in Jim Marrs 1989 JFK assassination book, Crossfire, as one of the “three tramps” in assassination lore.

 Woody was never close to his father who had more or less left the family to go into hiding in 1968 for yet another case, but Woody did visit him in prison and spoke highly of the man’s intellect.  Woody has had a solid run in Hollywood, often playing a jaded hayseed (Kingpin), and now ready for another approach it might appear.

Martin Sheen’s association to the project, Charlie’s father, needs little further investigation as Charlie was a trailblazer in critiquing official stories.  Martin Sheen’s perhaps most famous cinematic scene is at the beginning of Apocalypse Now, listening to the Oedipal complex epic, The End by The Doors, where Jim Morrison suggests killing the father.


For an inverted tale, Admiral Morrison, estranged from his more famous son Jim, witness to the backdoor to war at Pearl Harbor, commissioned a boat on the day of the Kennedy Assassination, witness to the absence of anything in the Tonkin Gulf, only to find his career plateau after pushing a little too much on the whole USS Liberty affair.  His son, Jim, would die in Paris after a short if memorable ride through the music business and popular culture.  Admiral Morrison did not approve of his son’s choices, but later in life, would visit his son’s grave in Paris and make peace, figuring, in a 2006 interview, that Jim’s songs and suggestions his family was dead, was just a means of protecting his father’s career.

 Jim Morrison, conservative?

US hushed up Katyn massacre of Poles

Why do we refer to the DC regime as the Evil Empire? Here’s one example:

The US has long held in its possession verified documentation proving the 1940 Katyn forest massacre of several thousand Polish POWs was committed by the Soviet Union. Why did Washington conceal it: to cover-up for its wartime ally Josef Stalin. …

The released papers now prove that the US officers informed their country of the concealed murder scene and the evidences some months after their 1943 visit.

The historians who spoke with the Associated Press called it “the most dramatic revelation” as it shows that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his administration were getting information early on from credible US sources illustrating it was the Soviet Union behind the massacre.

The finding further supports suspicion that regardless of the verified knowledge, Roosevelt chose not to make it public and wrangle with Josef Stalin, an ally whom the Americans were counting on to defeat Germany and Japan during World War II.

After all, what’s a little genocide between friends?

The purpose of the Katyn Massacre was to deprive Poland of its intellectual elite, which would certainly have led resistance to a communist takeover of their country. Stalin’s orders were to execute 25,700 Polish “nationalists and counterrevolutionaries.” The victims were Poland’s officer corps, men who in civilian life were an educated and motivated elite the Soviets had to eliminate.

Not only does the Katyn Massacre provide a shocking illustration of DC’s brutal history, it also sheds light on the true nature of leftist ideology. It’s a sham. For all their talk about the “equality of all people,” deep down, lefitists know their ideology doesn’t match reality. People are not equal. Some are smarter, stronger, or faster than others. That’s why the procrustean ideology of the left is inevitably doomed – human nature mocks it.

The “America System:” it is Un-American

Below is the expanded version of my blog post. It is now up at EtherZone:

President Obama’s recent “you didn’t build that” comment has ignited quite a debate.  Interestingly, this debate has brought to the forefront the terminology and the idea of the “American System.” James Pinkerton covers the history of the “American System” well in this article fromThe American Conservative, although, as you will see, I do not totally agree with his take.

Those of us who have been involved in the renewed debate over the merits of Abraham Lincoln are well aware of the term “American System” as one of the chief criticisms of Lincoln by his new antagonists is that he essentially remained a Henry Clay style Whig intent on advancing Clay’s “American System” including federally subsidized “internal improvements” (infrastructure), which is why he could not afford to let the South leave. So I was a bit surprised that this terminology seemed new to so many people, but I guess if you have not been following the Lincoln debate it could be.

While as a partisan Southerner I do not concede that the debate about Lincoln was ever over, there has clearly been a recent upsurge in Lincoln revisionism. I would date this “renewed” debate to the publication of Thomas DiLorenzo’s first Lincoln book. Lincoln as Clay style Whig was one of DiLorenzo’s main themes.

Of course for conservatives and constitutionalist, Clay’s “American System” is un-American. (It is probably more accurate albeit less alliterative to call it un-Constitutional rather than un-American because violating the Constitution has unfortunately been a feature of American reality for quite some time now.) According to conservative minded constitutionalists, the Constitution is a document of “enumerated powers” so if the power is not enumerated the Federal Government does not have it. By this reading of the Constitution there should be virtually no federal spending on infrastructure. Roads and bridges are a state and local concern.

I concede that there is always the question of what was intended and authorized by the term “post roads” in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7), but the defenders of the interstate highway system did not even try to justify it on the basis of “post roads,” but rather they attempted to justify it on national defense grounds. Even if you allow for a liberal interpretation of what it means to “establish” post roads, the Federal Government does not have carte blanche authority to build infrastructure for the facilitation of enterprise which is what Clay’s “American System” envisioned.

Of course Romney will not make this constitutionalist argument. Instead he will continue to reinforce the impression that he is a Chamber of Commerce Republican and have his surrogates make vague insinuations that Obama is a collectivist or a socialist or whatever and does not respect entrepreneurs. (As Pinkerton points out, Obama is in fact an advocate of a “mixed economy,” but Republicans and movement conservative wags cannot effectively make this point because for so many of them their defense of “free-enterprise” is actually shilling for state corporatism gussied up with free-market platitudes. How can the same people who labeled Ron Paul a wacko for criticizing the Federal Reserve question the wisdom of Henry “Second Bank of the United States” Clay’s “American System?”) And a valuable opportunity to explain what the American System (constitutionally limited government) really is and should be will be lost.

Published originally at

Since We’re on the Subject of War of 1812 Revisionism…

First Justin Raimondo wrote this. Then our own Hawthorn, who is largely in agreement with Raimondo, responded with this. Yesterday LewRockwell posted a link to this Salon article.

I confess I am very conflicted about the War of 1812. The emerging anti-war consensus seems to be that it was entirely a war of choice with possibly exaggerated concerns about impressment used as a justification for a war of conquest (Canada). The problem is that whether or not the War of 1812 was justified depends largely on who you listen to/believe, and there are people whose opinions I usually respect and trust on different sides of the issue. Also, the people I normally view as the bad guys (Yankee industrialist and Federalists) are portrayed as the good guys in the anti-war scenario, and the guys I normally see as the good guys (the Agrarian South, Jeffersonian Democrats and Calhoun in particular), are portrayed as the bad guys. Obviously the truth stands on it’s own regardless of my own emotional attachments, but my emotions do admittedly make it harder for me to accept this new revisionism at face value.

At the least, whatever the truth may be, it is likely more complicated than the simple morality tale the new anti-war revisionists make it out to be. I would actually like to see an intra-paleo debate on this issue since there is generally a broad consensus on most things within paleo circles that there is not, from my sense, on the War of 1812.

But whatever anyone may think about the War of 1812, one thing is certain, it was NOT the “First Neocon War” as the Salon article calls it outright and some revisionists seem to suggest. This reading of the War coincides with neocon Robert Kagan’s take in Dangerous Nation. I don’t know how anti-war revisionists think they are helping the cause by aping Kagan’s theme.

Kagan’s assertion is that America was never the mind-our-own-bussiness republic that the anti-war conservatives would have people believe. He suggests that America was expansionistic from a very early point and that this represents a sort of proto-neoconservatism that has always been part of the American character. The problem with this suggestion is that, as often happens, it ascribes modern thoughts and values to people in the past. To whatever degree Kagan’s assertion may or may not be true, undoubtebly there were Americans in the past who had expansionistic designs – Canada, Cuba, the Philippines, etc. But this was a time when powerful nations such as England and France had empires. The expansionistic designs of some Americans were motivated by the good ol’ fashioned illiberal imperialism that was common at the time. They wanted to be like the big boys and have an empire of our own. To the degree that it might have been ideologically, so to speak, motivated it was to bring Christianity to some benighted parts of the world. This is a far cry from the supposedly benign hegemony watched over by America and the ushering in of liberal democracy that the neocons envision.

Whatever take the anti-war folks want to have on the War of 1812, they should be careful that they don’t give aid and comfort to the Kagans of this battle by parroting their talking points. Whether the War of 1812 was just or not, it was NOT the first or any other kind of neocon war.

Want to be in a Graphic Novel About the Alamo?

A friend of this website sent the following e-mail. Sounds like fun if you’ve got the cash to spare. I wonder if “Hey, did you know I’m in a graphic novel?” would impress the chicks? :-)

My friend Travis asked me to promote his historical graphic novel, so here it is. One can be in it if they help him by making a pledge. I figured I would make an appearance and pledged enough to get drawn as a hero.

Pat Buchanan on Pearl Harbor and FDR

Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day. Here are Pat Buchanan’s thoughts on that event and its aftermath. It is a powerful column. In typical Buchanan style he makes his case using short staccato sentences that simply lay out facts. Opinion you can argue about. Facts you can’t.

Whether or not FDR had foreknowledge of the attack is much debated. That he intentionally tried to provoke a Japanese first strike should not be. He did. The facts are clear. FDR wanted war with Japan, and he wanted a backdoor into the war in Europe. As the Buchanan article shows, he rebuffed Japan’s repeated, almost frantic, attempts to avoid war because he didn’t want to avoid war. He needed a Japanese first strike to goad a recalcitrant public into accepting a war they did not want, and he got what he wished for.

This isn’t to excuse Japan for a treacherous sneak attack, and they were behaving in an imperialistic manner themselves which is what was alarming the US to begin with, but as with so much else, it wasn’t our fight and we should have minded our own business.

Daniel Larison Rebukes Jeffrey Lord

Jeffrey Lord is at it again with his simplistic and historically illiterate attacks on Ron Paul’s foreign policy. Mr. Lord has a knack for attracting rebukes from high powered thinkers. Tom Woods and Kevin Gutzman have already blasted his past anti-Paul rantings. Now Daniel Larison has chimed in. As Mr. Lord has been schooled over and over, the Founding Fathers were not interventionists in any meaningful sense. So why he continues to repeat that canard, I don’t know.

The occasions for Mr. Lord’s comments is the exclusion of Ron Paul from the Republican Jewish Coalition candidate forum which I will comment on separatedly. To Mr. Lord’s credit he does argue that the RJC should have included Ron Paul, but what I want to focus on here is Mr. Lord’s flawed history. Lord says:

 The Founding Fathers, for example, repeatedly intervened in countries outside U.S. borders, contrary to the impression Paul tries to give.

Umm … no they didn’t. Larison points out the problem here:

By “repeatedly intervened,” he means that they fought exactly two wars that involved putting American forces on foreign soil. Not counting the Quasi-War, the U.S. during the Founding generation waged just two foreign wars, one of which was in North America. The first of these was a war of retaliation, and the second was an ill-advised war against Britain that was at least partially justified as necessary to protect American ships and sailors. Whether or not the War of 1812 was wise (it wasn’t), it had some direct relationship to defending U.S. interests. These wars have little or nothing in common with the foreign interventions that Lord is endorsing here, and it is unlikely that the Founders would have seen any reason to intervene in foreign conflicts in Europe or Asia. We know for certain that none of the first six Founding generation administrations ever intervened in such conflicts, and we have every reason to believe that all of the first six Presidents from the Founding generation abhorred the idea of entangling the United States in the quarrels of the Old World.


Bill Still: Libertarian for President

This site is generally not libertarian, although we tend to be very friendly to Ron Paul, and we don’t necessarily follow Libertarian Party politics closely, but I decided to post this announcement by Bill Still because it highlights an important historical divide on the issue of money that many people may not be familiar with, but that seems to be arising again lately. Still’s candidacy is likely to bring it even more to the forefront.

Bill Still is a prominent “Greenbacker.” Some people in that camp consider the term derogatory. Some embrace it. It is not my intention to be derogatory. We just need to call them something and Greenbacker works and has a historical context. If they would like to suggest another term, I’ll be glad to use it.

Still and other Greenbackers, like Austrian “Gold Bugs,” oppose the Federal Reserve and fractional reserve banking. Like Austrians they will often speak of money “created out of thin air.” Thus some do not recognize the distinction between the two. Their solutions are, however, very different. Greenbackers do not like the gold standard. They see the gold standard and the current system of fractional reserve/Federal Reserve “debt money” as both benefiting the powerful elite, especially bankers, at the expense of the people. What they would like is true “fiat money” issued by the Treasury, instead of “debt money” created by the Fed and banks through fractional reserve lending (often also called fiat money by Austrians). Some will recognize the historic connection to the populist movement of the late 19th century and the Greenback Party of that era.

Still is a prominent and notable Greenbacker because he is responsible for two widely viewed documentaries on the history of money and banking, The Money Masters (1996) and The Secret of Oz (2010). He has also written a book, No More National Debt, on the subject.

What remains to be seen is how well this will play in the Libertarian Party. It is likely to have some market, but that market is likely limited. First, Greenbackers suggest that printing money is a proper function of government so this will turn off the anarchists who don’t concede there is any proper function of government right off the bat. Also, some Greenbackers speak of spending this fiat money into the economy when expansion of the monetary supply is necessary in the form of public works and infrastructure projects. This will offend a broad swath of libertarians. Some Greenbackers even oppose private banking altogether. This too is hardly a libertarian policy.

On the other hand, Still might appeal to certain leftist libertarians. And Greenbackism is subversive enough (it really amounts to a big huge screw you to the bankers) that it may appeal to the contrarian element of some libertarians. May hunch is that if Still is to win he will have to bring large numbers of his people to the convention which is not inconceivable but no easy task either.

There has already been a vigorous discussion about Still’s candidacy at Independent Political Report, but unfortunately it primarily turned into a discussion of the merits of fractional reserve banking from an Austrian perspective, instead of a discussion of the merits of Greenbackism. I would like our readers thoughts on the money issue. Please post them below.

Addendum: I actually think Still and Greenbackism could have some appeal among the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Historically Greenbackers were associated with the left (to the degree left and right apply to pre-WWII politics which is arguably not much) and the populist impulse. But they became increasingly associated with the right since WWII give or take. Still could emphasize the “private” nature of the Fed, how the current system enriches bankers, the need to nationalize the money creating process, the need to “spend” said money into the economy, etc. and resonate quite well with some of the OWS crowd. Establishment leftists will of course be horrified by Still because of the fundamental nature of his critique, but many of the OWS protestors who at this point have nothing to lose, might welcome a fundamental and wholesale critique.

The Lost Decade 2001-2011 (Update)

You’re hearing the phrase “The Lost Decade” more and more often in elite circles and I think it appropriate one to describe the U.S. starting from 9-11 and ending with its anniversary (or perhaps a totem would be the whole “Debt Ceiling” debate, tragedy ending in farce with the downgrade of U.S.’s credit rating for the first time ever) Imagine if you will Peal Harbor taking place in 1941 and by 1951 the U.S. basically cowed and surrounded (not occupied but certainly feeling like it) by totalitarian powers like Japan, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia).  After 9-11, the U.S, instead of straddling the world still like a global colossus instead has been brought as low as those Twin Towers were on Sept. 11, 2011.

I wanted to pontificate more on this around the 10th anniversary of 9-11 but found I didn’t have the time and I still don’t.  But I will say quickly that if you look at epochs of modern American history since the 20th Century you’ll find they are wrapped up neatly in 10 to 20 year increments resting largely on the ones or close to it: The Progressive Era beginning with Theodore Roosevelt’s coming to power in 1901 and ending with the inauguration of Warren G. Harding. The Roaring 20s starting in the 1921 and going to 1931. Why 1931? Because in that year Austria’s  largest bank,  the Ceditanstalt goes belly up, triggering the banking collapse in Central Europe which causes a worldwide financial meltdown and turns what’s already a severe recession in the U.S. into a Depression. The Depression era lasting from that point until, of course, Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.  This period lasted from then until the U.S. left Korea in July of 1953 (America’s rise into a global super power). Then you have relatively short period (but still historically significant) from 1953 until Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 as the first Catholic ever in U.S. history. This period of change, optimism, and convulsion ended at the beginning of 1971 (or you can go further all the way to the end of the gold standard of that year). This period until Reagan’s inauguration and the release of the hostages from Iran in January 1981. And this epoch last until the fall of 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union (the U.S. as the sole super power in the world and the great economic boom which followed which then went 10 years until Sept. 11, 2001.

What will the next 10 years or even 20 years bring? Actually this post from Rod Dreher might provide a clue…

UPDATE: Actually I found an event in 1951 which corresponds neatly with a decade-long political epoch and an important one too. In April of 1951, then President Truman fired Douglas MacArthur as UN Commander in the Pacific. Because he was the commander of an army, especially then with China, he supported a posture which call for all out war with the Red Chinese. Truman, instead, stuck with the policy of limiting the war on the Korean peninsula. MacArthur opposed this policy and expressed his disagreement with Congressional leaders which lead to his downfall. From this moment onward the traditional U.S. way of making war, which was total war, was changed to one of limited war. And a brand new period in time, certainly for the U.S., began as a result.


Life in wartime just goes on…The meaning of 9-11

So where were you on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001?  You may well be asked this question come Sunday from friends, acquaintances or family members so I might as well begin…I was, just as I am now, in front of a computer screen trying to figure out what to say. I was trying to put the finishing touches on a column for my newspaper when I first heard over the radio about a plane smashing into the one of the towers of the World Trade Center. “Boy what a disaster!” I thought at the time, but not thinking more about it until I could see on the news later that day or on the Internet after deadline.

It was only when the announcement of the second plane crashing into the second tower came over the radio that the realization took hold something was seriously wrong …“We interrupt this broadcast for special new bulletin”.  I was listening to a rock station and there was no more music played after that. I had a portable TV on my desk I immediately turned on and saw the video footage of the second plane hitting the towers, captured only minutes before on live TV. It was replayed, over and over, for the next 24 hours. Time stopped and the announcement came, made by Tom Brokaw himself as I seem to recall:  America is at war.

And yet I still had a column to finish. But it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered it seemed at the time. The sports world seemed so petty. My brother had just moved to New York City a year and a half before – could he have been in one of the towers or down on the street? What the hell was going on? America was at war, we were attacked. That’s all I knew and I’m sure all anyone of us knew at the time. It was probably the last point of unity we all had at that one moment shared consciousness – We were at war.

Ten years later, perhaps the country is reaching again for a shared point of unity, although we still have a long way to go. And that point is:  Either we are at war or we should stop pretending that we are.

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It’s not even a state

Thomas Naylor, ‘What the Birther’s Missed:Why Hawai’i is Not a Legitimate State

Reading a children’s edition (republished in ’79 from a 1902 manuscript) of the Arthurian legend this evening to the elder boy, I found myself with Merlin creating the round table.  In this children’s edition, the table is to sit 50, which includes the Seat of Peril, or the Perilous Seat, or whatever name have you–if you sit in it, and are unworthy, the act is fatal.  Further, the text includes a warning from Merlin that when the 50 seats are filled, God will wreck King Arthur.

While indeed the legend frequently changes the number of seats at the Round Table, the mind is tempted to consider the thought of the author and the later editors to use the 50 seat number and Merlin’s warning–Fate is apparently still with us.

With that in the background, Thomas Naylor hits the metapolitical point of the Birther question–is Hawaii a legitimate state?

And I won’t (which is to say I will) bother to mention the Pearl Harbor Question–we’ll tackle candidates from Seward’s Folly another day if need be.

Alt. History

William Lind’s most recent in the American Conservative (not on line), Alternative History, is a timely addition to a recent post here, the observation of revisionist popular histories on the War Between the States, hitting the book shelves.

To answer the post at Conservative Times: a cyclical market tendency offers only thin gruel, as far as future trends go.  The critical work lies in creating a compelling counter narrative, woven through history.

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George Washington’s birthday

“First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life.”

Eulogy to George Washington by “Light Horse” Harry Lee, father of Robert E. Lee.

George Washington allowed us to question him on modern-day issues:

Mr. President, should the US borrow money from China to give to Israel?

“The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.” Farewell Address

Should the United States pursue an interventionist, aggressive foreign policy?

“The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.” Farewell Address

Do you think the Pentagon should be continued, expanded, or dismantled?

“Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” Farewell Address

Finally, sir, do you believe the Union is a permanent government, or do its members have the right to withdraw if they see fit?

“It is well worth a fair and full experiment.” Farewell Address