The Dead Dragon and the Living Dragon

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76 Responses

  1. Will Truman says:

    I’m still contemplating the post, but since my contemplated responses typicaly end up Comment #80 and largely ignored (drat the time-delay in my mind), I thought I would at least share my initial response while the conversation is still relevant:

    I agree with what you say as it pertains to the United States. If anything, I would argue that the Respect For Authority head is more alive than you give it credit for (it’s just a little doped up while the Authority remains Democratic). Rhetorically and perhaps academically, I am in agreement on the other head. Policy-wise is more of a muddle, and nuts-and-bolts politically as well (The GOP came to the bat for Medicare just a couple years ago, after all, poisoning the well for its own later proposal). But yeah, the overall theme is still quite alive and biting everywhere.

    Internationally, though? You seem to be making the argument that this is a world-wide thing (albeit one less pronounced outside the US than inside) and I’m not really seeing that. It seems to me that this is actually one of the main differences between conservatives in the US and conservatives elsewhere. Koz has pointed to it as something that US conservatives are doing “right” in comparison to conservative politicians elsewhere. While I am not sure about the rightness of the action, it’s there. And it doesn’t seem to be there elsewhere. Maybe Canada, though that’s a somewhat different case (seemingly, the dragon-head reasserting itself after a slumber).Report

    • North in reply to Will Truman says:

      Will I would say that in some (maybe many) cases the right outside of the US is more moribund than the right within. On the other hand if you include in this head the forces that Buckley drove out of the mainstream right within the US then that would expand the authority definition to include parties that campaign based on platforms of nativism, nationlism and racism. Including those in the definition nets you a not inconsiderable number of the right wing parties in Europe for instance.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to North says:

        Maybe I misunderstood your contention. Is it that the Market Dragon is alive in the US and slumbering elsewhere but the Authority Dragon is more the inverse? If that’s the case, I don’t know that I disagree.Report

        • North in reply to Will Truman says:

          I focused on the US so I really didn’t have a position on the relative state of affairs beyond North America, but yeah I’m of the opinion that the market head is fully viable and active in the US (albeit smaller than its older larger head) and that the Authority head, while larger, is also in poor health and is more moribund within the US (consider the full on retreat of the neocons, the rocks that’re being lobbed at the defense budget right now and the evolving route that is befalling the social cons).Report

    • Koz in reply to Will Truman says:

      One thing that I don’t think you or North are understanding is the history of authority in the Anglophone conservative tradition. Ie, the idea of rule by authority as North calls it is indirectly rejected in Anglophone conservatism. It’s not directly rejected, it’s just primarily about other things: families, individuals, economics, etc. And those other things build a world where the ancien regime idea of society isn’t as important as before.

      This is not to say that authority has no place in conservatism. But the it is substantially different if you deal with conservatism on its own terms or in the context of opposition to OWS or anarchy or something.Report

      • Bruce Webb in reply to Koz says:

        Historical nonsense. The Conservative Movement from its 18th century (or even before) in both Britain and on the Continent was bound at the hip with the King and Church Party. Later it was able to co-opt English Liberalism via Free Trade which itself would not have been possible without Royal Chartership of the East India Company and control of the sea lines enforced by the Royal Navy in the 18th century backed by full out military conquest via the Royal Army in India and Africa in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

        Let me guess. You learned your history at the Mercatus Center at GMU? The implied idea that the Koch Brothers and Movement Conservatism at large have EVER been anti-authoritarian being just Glibertarian crap drawn from the Sci Fi aisle. To see the actual interaction as it played out in this country (the US) google ‘Kirkpatrick Doctrine’. Right Authoritarians Good, Left Totalitarians Bad. A doctrine that I suspect would have shocked Hayek to the core.Report

        • Koz in reply to Bruce Webb says:

          Come on. Edmund Burke supported the American Revolution among other things.

          In any case, Anglophone conservatism isn’t so much antagonistic to the interest of kings, bishops, or generals as much as it’s not about them.

          Btw, it helps if you state and relate your point clearly so people can respond to what you write instead of having to guess.Report

          • Bruce Webb in reply to Koz says:

            Burke 1776 was not the Burke of Reflections on the Revolution in France of 1789. And the latter, on my admittedly limited knowledge, seems to have had more influence on what is known as Burkean Conservatism than his views a dozen years before. Suddenly that King and Church thing had more appeal.

            And historically Conservatism as a self-identified political identity and party is a post Revolutionary War (and not ours construct). I think someone somewhere dubbed this ‘The Age of Reaction’. And React they did and still are hence the thing other people have dubbed ‘Reactionism’

            It is always mildly amusing that defenders of Smith point to later books in Wealth of Nations, or sections of Malthus or Ricardo or the earlier Burke to say they were not ‘really’ as heartless as their followers turned out to be. So what, as in Vulgar Marxism and Vulgar Freudianism it is what their followers took away and applied. That is operationally ‘Burkean Conservatism’ is a label for a certain belief system just as ‘Christian Dominionism’ is. Pointing out that either’s more radical conclusions are not actually supported by the ur texts by the putative founders being no defense at all.Report

      • North in reply to Koz says:

         The Authority label is a broad one, I concede, but my own reading is that American conservatives merely substituted alternative authorities for the old monarchs. They used the authority of tradition, of authority figures, of religion and of less palatable things like race. Note that we’re talking left/right rather than Republican or Democrat since Dixie politics actually muddled the connections a lot during that era.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    A lovely analogy.

    One major difference (as I’ve seen pointed out) is that the US is very, very young in some aspects (well, by comparison to Europe).

    As such, when American conservatives think about how things used to be, the absolute *FARTHEST* back they can go is 220ish years and they’re far more likely to be daydreaming about fewer than 100. (On top of that, the further back they go, they’re getting closer and closer to a major Enlightenment undertaking.)

    When European conservatives think about how things used to be, there is a lot more history to be going back and digging through… and you can get to the Enlightenment and still keep going backwards (and some European conservatives do).

    (It’s like how the 70’s had all of those grey Russians standing on the balcony being “Communists” and the late 80’s had those same grey men being “Conservatives” in the face of reform.)Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yes quite so. I think size is an issue too. Compared to her first world bretheren the US is an utter behemoth in terms of land mass and population.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to North says:

        I might add that in addition to size, there is also a dynamic quality to our population that doesn’t exist as much in the western world. Not just the whole “nation of immigrants” but collections of immigrants from widely different times and places. It makes the hill on which to defend who we are (and, by extension, who our authorities are) a little harder to nail down.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

      @Jaybird: “and you can get to the Enlightenment and still keep going backwards (and some European conservatives do).”

      Really?  Is this actually a thing?  I’m sorry, but I find that bizarre.Report

    • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      I think there is a lot to this idea. Here in Alaska almost all white folks moved here since the 1970s when the oil boom started. Most of us have moved here even more recently.. I’ve been here 16 years which is more then a lot of others. So most people’s memory extends to oil making everybody rich and a bunch of natives who have always been poor. There is a great sense of freedom to make of yourself whatever you want since we have no past but also being unmoored from any constraints of how the world has worked in the past. There is a feeling the oil boom is all of history and there will always be oil in the future.Report

      • Bruce Webb in reply to greginak says:

        And checks from the Alaska Permanent Fund.

        Between that and Alaskans in the persons of Sen Stevens and Rep Young being Chairmen or Ranking Members of the two Appropriations Committee steering federal money over the last few decades Alaska has been for decades the poster child for redistribution and dependent sucking on the state and federal teats. AND the most independent and self-reliant people EVAH. “Look I feed myself on moose burger! From a moose I shot myself!” Yeah likely with bullets shipped in either by the US Post Office or through heavily subsidized ports and airports.

        Basically a Glibo-Socialisto-Tarian paradise.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:


      I think the difference between 1800’s Cavaliers and 1100’s Nobility is rather neglible (particularly if you include African Nobility in there)Report

  3. ted whalen says:

    -1 for not clearly marking spoilers for book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire.Report

  4. E.D. Kain says:

    Patrick – North – et alia – thanks for posting this. But in the future, please send all guest posts to me.Report

  5. Robert Cheeks says:

    Congrats Northie, there’s much to chew on here, but I’ve only given a short exam. Any critical analysis would start on your desire to ignore the inclination of our materialist-humanist-sectarian culture to immanentize the eschaton, of course, and, to carry on with the silliness that in modernity we demand that gummint represent some perverse understanding of man in history (ideology) rather than the ancient concept that understands gummint as the earthly representative of a divine, cosmic order of stuff.

    While I have been mocked, derided, insulted, and beat about the head and shoulders for my faith in God, the Word, Jesus, the Divine, etc. it should be noted that the act of looking to faith in questions of gummint is something we all do. While the beloved Bob seeks divine wisdom, younz guys turn toward the repeated intellectual-ideological failures of man in modernity and, oft times. repeat the same failure while chanting, “love me, love me, love me, I’m a libural.” As if to say that believing gummint should serve as the money teat for the poor, downtrodden, or lazy we shall, in a secular sense, be saved and glorified in society.

    We have, I think, reached another cultural crisis where order is becoming less and less a function of the state-culture in the face of collapse but rather becomes a function of the individual. And, the tendency of the individual at such times is both to incline toward  alienation and to withdrawal into a condition that actually abandons the ordering force, itself. In turn we are divorced from that form of reason necessary to establish our political institutions…we can see this very clearly now, for example with the Occupados. 

    I think any critical analysis of the current political crisis should begin with the idea that, much like the crisis’ of the past century, our experience of reality is deformed simply because, as a culture, we have abrogated the experience of the ground.Report

  6. Koz says:

    I’ll write more about this to be sure. But first I’ll reiterate and clarify a couple of things I wrote before in the comments to one of Elias’ blogposts that prompted this.

    First of all, for roughly the 19th century there were two main strains of conservatism. The content of continental conservatism was essentially a hurrah for the ancien regime. This never really did have much grip on America because we had no ancien regime. There was also the Anglophone version, which is much more important for us, consisting of Burke, Madison, Adam Smith, Ben Franklin, Disraeli, etc.

    In 1995, Wm F Buckley founded National Review, which started what I called the Buckley era of American conservatism. The Buckley era is almost entirely within the tradition of Anglophone conservatism. It doesn’t represent much of an advance of Anglophone conservatism as a crystallization of it in a particular political and cultural context. In particular, the Buckley era created the strong bonds between conservatism in America and anti-Communism and conservatism and the Republican Party.

    As far as the dragons thing goes, my initial thought is this: American conservatives for the most part believe in the principles of the Buckley era, with a couple of caveats. First, there are some changes in emphasis. Obviously, literal opposition to Soviet communism is a much lower priority than before. Second, we also recognize that we failed to execute on our principles, especially during the Presidency of GWB and there is political fallout from that.

    But, I don’t think there has ever been much allegiance among Americans to the prinicples of continental conservatism.Report

    • Mike in reply to Koz says:

      You forget the Buckley-ite willingness to lie their asses off and misrepresent anything they need to misrepresent in order to make their “points.” Most ably represented by the clueless morons shouting about “Reagan cut taxes and it worked and made everything glorious” when, in fact, Reagan cut taxes precisely once (at the beginning of his first term) and RAISED them every single time he had a bill presented to him with a tax increase in it thereafter.Report

      • Koz in reply to Mike says:

        Like Bruce, you need to write a little narrowed so you can be coherent. What you’re talking about doesn’t really have a whole lot to do with what I wrote.

        In any case, it is true that Reagan raised taxes notably in 1983. But he also negotiated three substantial tax-lowering reforms, 1981, 1984, and 1986.Report

        • Mike in reply to Koz says:

          Reagan raised taxes in 1982, just a few months after signing the 1981 “tax cuts” that people like you worship so much.

          Then he raised taxes in 1983.

          The 1984 and 1986 items you point to were at best “revenue neutral”; they made changes to the individual income tax rates, but compensated by the elimination of certain tax “loopholes”, heavy caps on what money could be placed into an IRA, and adjustments shifting tax rates between the personal and corporate sides.

          And then there’s the 1987 tax increase.

          Like I said, Buckley-ites are willing to lie their asses off and have no compunction about misrepresenting anything they bring up, it seems.Report

  7. Bruce Webb says:

    As to 60s and 70s leftists this claim is horseshit. Even at Berkeley Communists whether Stalinist, Maoist, or Trotskyite were marginalized, while there may have been some support of State Socialism it was more of the British Old Labour style. And Berkeley was not typical of the American Left however defined.

    Thank you I will take my Hayek fresh and not filtered through the idea that Liberalism is committed to the predictions of the Communist Manifesto. This would read better with a little something I call ‘survey data’ backing that claim up. I mean “enormously broad brush” doesn’t cover it, the New Deal Coalition that still dominated the Democratic Party until 1980 was overwhelmingly devoted to anti-communism, the American left turned against Wallace and the ‘Progressive’ Party in favor of the Hubert Humphrey and the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) model. Similarly the AFL-CIO was staunchly anti-communist then with only a few outliers descended from the Wobblies and the Harry Bridge Longshoremen era. The Old Old Commie Left was essentially dead by the time the New Left showed on the scene, and even the latter were more committed to the political struggle and revolution aspects of Maoism and Trotskyism than any belief that the economic model would actually win out Manifesto-like.Report

    • Koz in reply to Bruce Webb says:

      Actually, North is right on this one. Even if strong political links to the USSR and other Communist countries were frowned on some of the time, the idea of the victory of the Left in history was powerful magnet for the whole Left, and the plausibility of that scenario was represented by the Communists.Report

      • Bruce Webb in reply to Koz says:

        Pure assertion and implicit claim of authority as against me.

        The vision of much of the Left was in my recollection more akin to that of Lionel Trilling’s Liberal Imagination than Moa’s Little Red Book.

        The Enlightenment Project as largely embodied in the Constitution as supplemented by the Bill of Rights was heavily invested in big P Progress based on Fairness and Democracy. There is nothing in the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, or the Great Society that implied the specific form of future society as seen in Marx.

        If you want to equate “Future victory of the Left” with “Inevitable triumph of the Enlightenment vision of shared economic and social justice via universal democracy” I can go along. Instead I see a sleight of hand redefinition of left liberalism with pure state socialism. A trick more worthy of Goldberg and Beck than putatively serious and honest libertarians open for debate.

        For those of us old enough to remember ‘Liberal’ in American terms overlapped ‘Center’ in the early 60s. Some people might want to review the results of the 1964 election and the composition of Congress right through 1980. Clear fractures started showing in 1968 but only special pleading can equate the project of Communism and the Liberalism that dominated most American ‘left’ institutions then.

        This is just another version of the ‘Bill Ayers rules their world” nonsense that animates the Tea Party ‘intellectuals’. Even the new Bill Ayers doesn’t do that still less the Bill Ayers that was at minimum a leader in a group that blew up campus building and so bagging that prototypical face of capitalist imperialism-a janitor.

        It just didn’t happen that way. Here is a hint: neither David Horowitz or Jonah Goldberg is a historian. Or honest. It pains me to see weak tea versions of their theses being presented as pure fact based on nothing that I can see.Report

    • North in reply to Bruce Webb says:

       Bruce, my claim is much squishier than you may be getting from your reading of me. Remember that in this little article I’m primarily talking about the fundamentalists, not the masses, of the left and right respectively. The assertion that the broader left and the institutions of the left were anti-soviet and anti communist is one I would agree with which is why they were able to achieve electoral success and govern well. But their spiritual extremist brothers were definitely true believers in communism and while they would roll their eyes and snort at their idealisms there was some sympathy I think.

      My own impressions certainly could be entirely wrong; I was born in ’79 so I certainly experienced none of it firsthand.Report

      • Bruce Webb in reply to North says:

        You applied an “enormously broad brush” against “left wingers” who on being “interviewed” would unfair able reveal themselves to be closet communist. Not a lot of qualifications there.

        Now you claim that you were only talking about their “spiritual extremist brothers” and not public leadership or the masses that supported them. Which reduces your argument to circularity: “those members of the left who were communists or fellow travellors were communist sympathizers” Well no duh. Basically you are parroting another version of “Ward Churchill, Sistah Souljah, and Bill Ayers rule their world”

        So yeah “squishy”. Like Rush’s drug addled brain.

        The League has a reputation of being the place you find sharp well reasoned and well evidenced arguments for libertarianism even if like me you come from a distinctly left perspective. I guess an argument for running guest pieces by E.D.Report

  8. Koz says:

    By say, 1981, not 1 in 10 libs could find Lionel Trilling with two hands and a road map.

    Let’s stipulate that the New Deal and the Great Society aren’t necessarily communist. That doesn’t change the fact there well real actual communists in the world doing real actual communist things. There’s an important psychological weakness of libs towards doing what communists were supposed to represent (if not what communists actually did). As a consequence lib-Left politics were corrupted for decades (if not still).Report

    • Bruce Webb in reply to Koz says:

      Assertions are not arguments the only hand on ass things going are here are your claims about Trilling being pulled out. The idea that liberal intellectuals not being aware of his ideas based on nothing at all.

      Yes there were communists doing bad things which is why convinced liberals sent military advisors, planes, full out military counter attack, a supported invasion, and then another all out war against Communism. You ever heard of Greece, Berlin Airlift, Korea, Bay of Pigs or Vietnam?

      The notion that the American Left was soft on Communism is more akin to Bircher ‘Who Lost China/Unleash Chiang-Kai Chek’ hysteria than any kind of review of the actual historical record.

      The first two post-war Republican Presidents were elected on platforms that would ROLL BACK military pushback on Commies, hence the totally unsatisfying exults of Korea (nuclear bomb in the hand of a madman) and Vietnam (boat people dying by the tens of thousands). As it turns out I think Ike and Nixon made the right choices even given those results. But only someone ignorant of history would put them down to “weakness of libs”. It just didn’t happen that way. Anyone who thinks Truman, Kennedy, and the post war Democratic establishment were soft on Commies doesn’t know anything at all. Ya really think Sam Nunn and Scoop Jackson were closet pinks? Pull the other pinkie.Report

      • Koz in reply to Bruce Webb says:

        “Anyone who thinks Truman, Kennedy, and the post war Democratic establishment were soft on Commies doesn’t know anything at all. Ya really think Sam Nunn and Scoop Jackson were closet pinks? Pull the other pinkie.”

        Sam Nunn and Henry Jackson were anachronisms for their times. The Democratic Party repudiated anti-Communism 40 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Btw, you use the word rollback but that word doesn’t mean what you think it means.Report

        • Bruce Webb in reply to Koz says:

          Crap. 2011 minus 40 years puts us in 1971 at which point Nixon was already prepping his trip to China (which came off in Feb 1972 that is BEFORE THE ELECTION) and was two years into the Paris Peace Talks which started on Jan 25, 1969 or five days after his inauguration. And this marked the time LIBS went soft on communism?

          Or are you in the Bircher ‘even Ike and Nixon were secret Commies’ camp?

          As to Jackson and Nunn they were successive Chairs of the Senate Defense communities and have a major warship and DC office building named for them ALL based on post 1971 service.

          Where are you getting your timelines?Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Bruce Webb says:

            I’m sorry, Mr. Webb, too much spaghetti thrown at the wall; too much too soon.  Bobby Kennedy worked for Joe McCarthy: that’s how much there is to untangle beyond Richard Nixon being a Republican.

            Working back from 2011 instead, I’d be happy to see the Che t-shirts burned rather than used as totems.  I don’t ask for much.



            • Bruce Webb in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              Bobby Kennedy working for Joe McCarthey in 1953 validating the Lefties soft on on Commies narrative applied to the 60s and 70s how?

              I claim that the Dem liberals were hard on Commies, you counter that they were allied with Tail Gunner Joe. Are you from the alternative universe where Spock has a beard?

              Slow down dude. Unless you are claiming McCarthey was secretly a pinko your objection is content free. Or reenforcing my argument. Your choice man.Report

            • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              Feh, I am pretty confident that most wearers of Che’s mug have little in the way of a knowledge of the mans history or his politics. He’s worn as a way of torking off the right (and it works). If the guano madonna had shown up in Che’s era maybe she’d have been used instead.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Koz says:

      2011: The left still fronts for Castro, lionizes Che Guevera, hates Joe McCarthy more than Joe Stalin.  Google “Marxist professor” and get bonghits up the wazoo.  Unabashed commie Slavoj Zizek Address #OWS.

      That sort of stuff.

      I don’t think “liberals” do this; I make a distinction.  My mother was an FDR liberal and I loved my mother.  But the left, they’re still moaning about Alger Hiss and Julius Rosenberg.  Who were commies.

      It’s all in the game to tar the other side with its extremists, but the Dems like to pretend that these lefty radicals aren’t part of their own coalition.

      So, please, y’all, this pseudo-scholarly grenade toss is just another sophomore bull session.  The day the left starts putting their Che t-shirts in a pile and burns them, we can talk.Report

      • Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        There’s less difference between the Left and libs than you think, especially for Che Guevara-type stuff. How many T-shirt wearers can really describe the ideology of Che, much less support it?Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        You get lots of hits for Marxist professor because every whiny-ass 19-year-old who didn’t learn much history goes to college and is told some uncomfortable truths and immediately thinks his teacher must be a commie because he knows that we used to send the Pinkertons after striking workers.

        Oh, and every Great Man is a murderer, most of them on a larger scale than Che. They just didn’t pull the trigger themselves. FDR firebombed Dresden, just for one example.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          No, Jesse.  Those profs are self-described marxists.  And your excuse-making for Che with tu quoque on FDR will not do.  It borders on the obscene.

          And to my knowledge, Joe McCarthy never killed anybody, except as a tailgunner against the Axis.  You’re rather proving my point about the left’s lack of perspective and seriousness with this, Mr. Ewiak.


          To Mr. Koz, I would prefer it that those who wear the Che icon don’t really understand him.  Ignorance is more excusable than evil.Report

          • Bruce Webb in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            Good. Because you need an excuse.

            Very few professors are self-confessed Marxists on major campuses outside the lit-crit types. Per you guys you would think every professor in America was named Ward Churchill, Bill Ayers, or the ‘Dangeral’ Micheal Berube.

            To repeat David Horowitz is not a historian, he is a grifter that has been selling this particular line of horseshit for a couple decades now.

            I spent a couple of decades on the Berkeley Campus at the time of its most nutty PC ness, basically the early 80s, and though you could find examples of every single phenomenon Horowitz points out the idea that it dominated the Faculty is rank revisionism. Even in the Social Sciences where the Business School and the Political Science Department remained dominated by conservatives even as the Econ Dept was solidly quant based. You had to go to the Sociology Department and some precincts of the Ed School to find this kind of Marxist cant and even that was a stretch.

            Now the Graduate Student body was a little different but even at Berkeley at its most radical your depiction is far different than reality. Basically Fox fever dreams.

            And most campuses outside maybe Madison, Yale and some smaller liberal arts schools were much less radicalized than that outside some more focused issues like the Wars and right wing support of the murderous Pinochet Regime and Apartheid. All of which equated at the time by the likes of Pat Buchanon and Jeanne Kirkpatrick as “objectively pro-Soviet”.

            Do you guys ever get tired of being used as tools and maybe consider studying actual events in actual timelines. Hint don’t pick up your textbooks at the bookstore of Beck U.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            McCarthy’s military service was a reliable precursor to his Senate career:


            It is well documented that McCarthy lied about his war record. Despite his automatic commission, he claimed to have enlisted as a “buck private.” He flew twelve combat missions as a gunner-observer, earning the nickname of “Tail-Gunner Joe” in the course of one of these missions

            He later claimed 32 missions in order to qualify for a Distinguished Flying Cross, which he received in 1952. McCarthy publicized a letter of commendation which he claimed had been signed by his commanding officer and countersigned by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, then Chief of Naval Operations. However, it was revealed that McCarthy had written this letter himself, in his capacity as intelligence officer. A “war wound” that McCarthy made the subject of varying stories involving airplane crashes or antiaircraft fire was in fact received aboard ship during a ceremony for sailors crossing the equator for the first time.Report

        • Bruce Webb in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          And Jesse while I am on your side night bombing German cities as opposed to daylight bombing of strategic targets was much more a British initiative than FDR. Google ‘Bomber Harris’.

          I have never researched all the ends and outs but Churchill had a lot more fingerprints on that one than Roosevelt.Report

        • NOTE:  The fire bombing of Dresden was a group thing, the Brits and the Americans.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        McCarthy wasn’t a terribly dangerous man. Vile, perhaps, but not dangerous. The most dangerous man in Washington was Douglas MacArthur.

        And if you want one fucking liberal to be down with hating on Stalin more than McCarthy, count me in. Then again, I had relatives who lived through it.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

          Kimmi, good point about MacArthur.  Truman:

          “I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President. That’s the answer to that. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the laws for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail. ”


          “I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I have finally concluded… decided that there were times when he . . . well, I’m afraid when he wasn’t right in the head. And there never was anyone around to him to keep in line. He didn’t have anyone on his staff who wasn’t an ass kisser….”

        • Floyd Alsbach in reply to Kimmi says:

          Though I do think he was overrated and a legend in his own mind:

          Gen Mac did not starve 7 million peasants to death in one year by forcefully taking their food supplies.

          Gen. Mac didn’t build Gulags and fill them with millions for ten years or more.

          Gen Mac didn’t encourage the summary execution of hundreds of thousands.

          Gen. Mac didn’t imprison every  regular soldier and many officers who crossed the borderline with Germany.

          I could go on and on.  Read Solzhenitsyn, read Nabokov (between the lines).  Read some of the millions of documents accessed in Russia after the fall of the USSR.  Read The Black Book of Communism.  Heck read the letters between Marx and Engels, Das Kapital, The C. Maifesto etc. living, breathing, highly organized, sophisticated, & blatant evil.

          Hatred yields nothing but more hatred, study, read, examine…Report

  9. Note2:  Having been a midwestern college student in the 70’s & early 80’s (it took me a while) I can tell you that in my personal experience most prof’s were Left of center.  Most students were at least socialistic in outlook.  We grew up slow.  Having taught college in the late 80’s and again recently… in my experience Liberalism is still alive and well, though there are a few more openly moderate and a very few openly conservative.

    -College was also much more academically rigorous then, and attitudes were, generally more honestly open minded.

    -Overall, this was a fascinating discussion to observe thank you.Report

  10. Kimmi says:

    The new dragon of the right rises

    Social Darwinism rebuilt…

    except that this time the rich

    steal from the poor

    and expect us to applaud.


    A good 20% of Americans have an Authoritarian personality, and they concentrate on the right (hence complaints about “wishy washy” personalities).

    Simply because we didn’t have nobility, doesn’t mean we aren’t busy creating a new noble class in our country. It’s the same old game, played anew.