Category Archives: Western Civilization

The Class Struggle

I think Ms. Noonan has been “off” on her thinking as of late, but here she is right on the money. None of the experts are paying anywhere close to the price or feeling close to the amount of pain being felt by the average person. mrossol

WSJ. 5/15/2020 by Peggy Noonan

I think there’s a growing sense that we have to find a way to live with this thing, manage it the best we can, and muddle through. Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon. Summer may give us a break, late fall probably not. Vaccines are likely far off, new therapies and treatments might help a lot, but keeping things closed up tight until there are enough tests isn’t a viable plan. There will never be enough tests, it was botched from the beginning, if we ever catch up it will probably be at the point tests are no longer urgently needed.

Meantime, we must ease up and manage. We should go forward with a new national commitment to masks, social distancing, hand washing. These simple things have proved the most valuable tools in the tool chest. We have to enter each day armored up. At the same time we can’t allow alertness to become exhaustion. We can’t let an appropriate sense of caution turn into an anxiety formation. We can’t become a nation of agoraphobics [inordinate fear of entering open or crowded spaces]. We’ll just have to live, carefully.

Here’s something we should stop. There’s a class element in the public debate. It’s been there the whole time but it’s getting worse, and few in public life are acting as if they’re sensitive to it. Our news professionals the past three months have made plenty of room for medical and professionals warning of the illness. Good, we needed it, it was news. They are not now paying an equal degree of sympathetic attention to those living the economic story, such as the Dallas woman who pushed back, opened her hair salon, and was thrown in jail by a preening judge. He wanted an apology. She said she couldn’t apologize for trying to feed her family.

There is a class divide between those who are hard-line on lockdowns and those who are pushing back. We see the professionals on one side—those James Burnham called the managerial elite, and Michael Lind, in “The New Class War,” calls “the overclass”—and regular people on the other. The overclass are highly educated and exert outsize influence as managers and leaders of important institutions—hospitals, companies, statehouses. The normal people aren’t connected through professional or social lines to power structures, and they have regular jobs—service worker, small-business owner.

Since the pandemic began, the overclass has been in charge—scientists, doctors, political figures, consultants—calling the shots for the average people. But personally they have less skin in the game. The National Institutes of Health scientist won’t lose his livelihood over what’s happened. Neither will the midday anchor.

I’ve called this divide the protected versus the unprotected. There is an aspect of it that is not much discussed but bears on current arguments. How you have experienced life has a lot to do with how you experience the pandemic and its strictures. I think it’s fair to say citizens of red states have been pushing back harder than those of blue states.

It’s not that those in red states don’t think there’s a pandemic. They’ve heard all about it! They realize it will continue, they know they may get sick themselves. But they also figure this way: Hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy taken down, which would mean millions of other casualties, economic ones. Or, hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy is damaged but still stands, in which case there will be fewer economic casualties—fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures, fewer unemployed and ruined.

They’ll take the latter. It’s a loss either way but one loss is worse than the other. They know the politicians and scientists can’t really weigh all this on a scale with any precision because life is a messy thing that doesn’t want to be quantified.

Here’s a generalization based on a lifetime of experience and observation. The working-class people who are pushing back have had harder lives than those now determining their fate. They haven’t had familial or economic ease. No one sent them to Yale. They often come from considerable family dysfunction. This has left them tougher or harder, you choose the word.

They’re more fatalistic about life because life has taught them to be fatalistic. And they look at these scientists and reporters making their warnings about how tough it’s going to be if we lift shutdowns and they don’t think, “Oh what informed, caring observers.” They think, “You have no idea what tough is. You don’t know what painful is.” And if you don’t know, why should you have so much say?

The overclass says, “Wait three months before we’re safe.” They reply, “There’s no such thing as safe.”

Something else is true about those pushing back. They live life closer to the ground and pick up other damage. Everyone knows the societal costs in the abstract—“domestic violence,” “child abuse.” Here’s something concrete. In Dallas this week police received a tip and found a 6-year-old boy tied up by his grandmother and living in a shed. The child told police he’d been sleeping there since school ended “for this corona thing.” According to the arrest affidavit, he was found “standing alone in a pitch-black shed in a blue storage bin with his hands tied behind his back.” The grandmother and her lover were arrested on felony child-endangerment charges. The Texas Department of Family Protective Service said calls to its abuse hotline have gone down since the lockdowns because teachers and other professionals aren’t regularly seeing children.

A lot of bad things happen behind America’s closed doors. The pandemic has made those doors thicker.

Meanwhile some governors are playing into every stereotype of “the overclass.” On Tuesday Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf said in a press briefing that those pushing against the shutdown are cowards. Local officials who “cave in to this coronavirus” will pay a price in state funding. “These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy. In the middle of a war.” He said he’ll pull state certificates such as liquor licenses for any businesses that open. He must have thought he sounded uncompromising, like Gen. George Patton. He seemed more like Patton slapping the soldier. No sympathy, no respect, only judgment.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called anti-lockdown demonstrations “racist and misogynistic.” She called the entire movement “political.” It was, in part—there have been plenty of Trump signs, and she’s a possible Democratic vice presidential nominee. But the clamor in her state is real, and serious. People are in economic distress and worry that the foundations of their lives are being swept away. How does name-calling help? She might as well have called them “deplorables.” She said the protests may only make the lockdowns last longer, which sounded less like irony than a threat.

When you are reasonable with people and show them respect, they will want to respond in kind. But when they feel those calling the shots are being disrespectful, they will push back hard and rebel even in ways that hurt them.

This is no time to make our divisions worse. The pandemic is a story not only about our health but our humanity.

Source: Scenes From the Class Struggle in Lockdown – WSJ


How America Won WW II Without Invading Japan.

Interesting, to say the least. mrossol
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By Warren Kozak – WSJ. 3/8/2020.

The U.S. entered World War II in 1941. Yet American planes couldn’t dent a roof in Japan until 1945. The 1942 Doolittle raid, with its 16 bombers that took off from carriers, showed great ingenuity and bravery. But it had zero impact on Japan’s ability to make war.

The raid was designed to boost morale after Pearl Harbor. When the U.S. didn’t follow up with more attacks, the Japanese believed their homeland was invulnerable to enemy bombs because of the emperor’s divine presence. That hubris ended 75 years ago Monday with an event that set in motion the eventual U.S. victory.

First, a little more history: The U.S. could reach Japan only after the Marines took the Mariana Islands at great cost in 1944. The largest airports in the world were built within months and filled with new, modern B-29 bombers. The B-29 was a marvel and the greatest expense of the war at $3 billion, compared with $2.4 billion for the Manhattan Project. Each plane was three times the size of the next-largest bomber, the B-17. The B-29 could fly 3,700 miles and cruise at an altitude high enough to elude antiaircraft fire.

But the B-29 ran into a problem during its first mission over Japan—huge winds up to 200 miles an hour. The jet stream rendered it impossible for bombs to hit targets.

Hap Arnold, head of the Army Air Force, turned to his youngest general, 38-year-old Curtis LeMay, who didn’t fit the profile of the glamorous flyboy. LeMay was slightly overweight, surly and taciturn. Most people found him frightening. He was a lieutenant in 1940 but rose out of obscurity to become the most innovative problem solver in bomber command. LeMay also insisted on flying the lead bomber on every dangerous mission. He was also the only U.S. general in the war who fought in front of his troops—a case study in military leadership.

LeMay approached the jet-stream dilemma like the engineer he was. On the night of March 9, 1945, he sent 346 B-29s to Tokyo. In a radical departure from normal operations, he ordered the planes to fly low—5,000 feet—and not in formation, but in a single-file line. The planes would drop incendiaries instead of impact bombs. The crews protested, assuming they would be destroyed by the flak. But LeMay believed the crews could survive because the Japanese wouldn’t see this coming.

He was right. With minimum loss to the U.S., the incendiaries started a firestorm that burned down more than 16 square miles of Tokyo. The firestorm left more than a million homeless and killed an estimated 100,000 men, women and children. The Japanese were as surprised as they were devastated. More people died during that 24-hour period than perished five months later in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

If this sounds shocking to contemporary ears, consider the context. An estimated 15 million to 17 million Asian civilians were killed—Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos and those from every other country Japan conquered. Like their German allies, the Japanese adopted a sense of triumphal racial superiority. Many of their victims were killed in the most brutal, medieval ways. An average of 250,000 people were dying throughout Asia every month in the first half of 1945.

As Americans approached the mainland, the Japanese fought even more ferociously on Iwo Jima and later Okinawa. The war in the Pacific was turning into an out-of-control bloodbath. The only way to stop this mass death—and prevent a prolonged guerrilla war following the largest invasion in history—was to force the empire to surrender by destruction from the air.

The U.S. would have to firebomb 64 Japanese cities, capped off by the two atomic bombs in August 1945, to end World War II. In the tragic calculus of war, it took the deaths of untold numbers of human beings to save the lives of even more. These are brutal realities few people today can imagine, let alone confront.

Sept. 2 will mark the 75th anniversary of the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri. That happened without an invasion of the Japanese mainland. Imagine Iwo Jima times 100 or even 1,000. At least a million American servicemen and many more millions of Japanese lived full lives thanks to the terrible and tragic—but necessary—events that began on March 9, 1945.

Mr. Kozak is author of “LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay.”


Growing secularism

Growing Secularism Is Pushing Religion, Traditional Values Aside, AG Barr Warns

JANITA KAN – The Epoch Times 10/14/2019

U.S. Attorney General William Barr raised concerns about the increase in secularism in society in a speech on Oct. 11, speaking about how that has contributed to a number of social issues plaguing communities across the nation.

Barr, who delivered his remarks to students at the University of Notre Dame’s law school, drew attention to the comprehensive effort to drive away religion and traditional moral systems in society and to push secularism in their place.

“We see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism,” Barr said.

He said that the forces of secularism are using mass media and popular culture, the promotion of greater reliance on government intervention for social problems, and the use of legal and judicial institutions to eliminate traditional moral norms.

Barr explored several of the consequences of “this moral upheaval,” highlighting its effect on all parts of society.

“Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic,” he said.

“Over 70,000 people die a year from drug overdoses,” he said. “But I won’t dwell on the bitter results of the new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has coincided, and, as I believe, has brought with it, immense suffering and misery.”

Barr said religion has come under increasing attack over the past 50 years, underscoring how secularists are using society’s institutions to systematically destroy religion and stifle opposing views.

“Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values. These instruments are used not only to affirmatively promote secular orthodoxy but also to drown out and silence opposing voices,” he said.

He said that people are moving away from “micro-morality” observed by Christians, a system of morality that seeks to transform the world by focusing on their own personal morality and transformation. Instead, he said the modern secularists are pushing a “macromorality,” which focuses on political causes and collective actions to address social problems.

“In the past, when societies are threatened by moral chaos, the overall social cost of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct become so high that society ultimately recoils and reevaluates the path it is on,” Barr said.

“But today, in the face of all the increasing pathologies, instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have cast the state in the role as the alleviator of bad consequences. We call on the state to mitigate the social costs of personal conduct and irresponsibility. So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility but abortion; the reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.”

“The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage, and while we think we are resolving problems, we [actually] are underwriting them.”

He also pointed out how the law has been used to “break down traditional moral values and establish moral relativism as the new orthodoxy,” giving the example of how laws have been used to aggressively force religious people and entities to subscribe to practices and policies that are antithetical to their faith.

“The forces of secularism have been continually seeking to eliminate the laws that reflect traditional moral norms,” he said.

Barr also highlighted the role of religion in society, saying it promotes moral discipline while it influences people’s conduct.

“Religion also helps promote moral discipline in society. We’re all fallen. We don’t automatically conform our conduct to moral rules, even when we know that they’re good for us. But religion helps teach, train, and habituate people to want what’s good,” he said.

“It doesn’t do this primarily by formal laws—that is, by coercive power—it does this through moral education and by framing society’s informal rules—the customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages. In other words, religion helps frame a moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline.”