Saturday, August 15, 2015

Who went and made Kelly an conservative-libertarian-anarchocurious goofball?

The list of people I have listened to, read, watched in action and spoken to, who I consider my "mentors" along my political (and apolitical) journey, includes but is not limited to the list you will find if you click "more" below.

 Since my way of thinking emphasizes liberty, personal responsibility, the lethal properties of welfare, problems of democracy, lies of Communism, dangers of the State, and the non-aggression principle, I've indicated which of these topics each "mentor" has led me in.  They are not necessarily in alphabetical or influential order.  I have not included any of the friends, writers, and professors who led me to the psychosis of Marxism earlier,  before I was freed from the chains of his philosophy;  but I might tackle that in a later post.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Slaughterhouse Not 135, 000

Since I've been obsessed about World War II, oh, since about 10th grade, one of the stories that fascinated me was Dresden.  Dresden, for the uninitiated, used to be thought of as the worst incident in terms of civilian fatalities  in the European theatre; possibly the war.  I've used Dresden as an example in discussions (and arguments) to suggest that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were comparable to it, not highly exceeding it.

Dresden in 1945 was an old city, a beautiful city with lovely architecture, home at the time to about 600,000 souls.  (350,000 was the official population at the time but there were many refugees fleeing the Red Armywhichwas coming towards them from the East).  There also were some Anglophone (US, British, Canadian) prisoners of war in the city where they'd been assigned work projects.  One of them was author Kurt Vonnegut Jr,, who later incorporated his experiences as a POW and of the firestorm in his novel, Slaughterhouse V.   Dresden had avoided bombardment, until  Allied planes approached on 2/13/1945.

The idea of "strategic bombing"---aiming for infrastructure, not just enemy targets, despite the inevitable increase in civilian casualties; and of tight formations to ensure heavy damage of specific targets, as well as better ability of all in formation to cover one another's back--played a large role in what happened in Dresden.  The goal of strategic bombing was manifold, and included demoralizing the population.  Killing loads of them, of course, is a good way to demoralize.  It's definitely a tragic story,  and whatever thenumber of  casualties, serves as a sickening reminder of who suffers the most during war.

The  figure has been rounded down to 22,000 to 25,000.  They believe the wrong number was promoted, and perhaps even created, by the Nazis and later the Communist Party of the Democratic German Republic (East Germany, where Dresden had the misfortune to land after the war), both of whom got considerable secondary gains from doing so....the Nazis in drumming up sympathy among citizens of Allied Countries; the Reds in pointing out, "The Russians never did anything like that.  The Americans and British did that.  So you never want to go back to their way of life...right?"After Mauerfall (literally, "wall fall", the name Germans give to the time the East Germans en masse began to destroiy the Berlin Wall), those hanging onto the inflated numbers for political gain lost their jobs and either melted in the background of the newly reunified Germany, or figured out the way the wind was blowing soon enough to develop an atrocious allergy to Communism.

The "new" figures (actually, the podcast indicates the lower ones have been accepted by most since the late 1990s) put Dresden more in league with London and Hamburg in numbers of fatalities and, if deaths due to radiation sickness in the weeks following August of 1945, quite a bit under those of Hiroshima (69,000) and about equal to Nagasaki (25,000).

Maybe that's a good thing.  Dresden suffered immensely, but many other cities suffered just as greatly during the war.  I believe the European war in WWII was a just war; quite unsure about the war between the US and Japan.  Going over the plight of these cities before they were rebuilt is sobering and helps me remember that we need to have a high threshold of what we call "evil" and a call-out for a war because the inevitable civilian suffering in every city affected will call out to us across the centuries for what we do.   .

What Free Trade Is, and Isn't. Why apples are sometimes better than tacos, why I miss Bad Quaker, and why software CEOs earn more than the average union member

Bad Quaker, who unfortunately has had, due to health reasons, to end his own informative libertarian podcast,  used to give the absolute best analogy of what Capitalism is.