Friday, November 8, 2013

Blinded by Science




"I feel for all faiths the warm sympathy of one who has come to learn that even the trust in reason is a precarious faith, and that we are all fragments of darkness groping for the sun.” - Will Durant



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Economics - The Dismal Science



          As our society has grown in complexity we have become increasingly dependent upon experts.  The problem with these “experts” is, just how reliable is their advice.  Australian economist G. Barker wrote, “The trouble with economics . . . is essentially that its practitioners and their theories have been elevated to a status which they cannot justify.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hollywood and the Creation of Racial Resentment


                In May 2012 a Dallas man “randomly” stabbed a shopper inside a Target store.  Antowann Davis took a butcher knife out of its packaging and stabbed Martha Jones in the back.  “He stabbed me in the back and kept walking,” Jones reported.  Jones claims he never spoke to her, or even tried to grab her purse and she had never seen him before.  In January 2013 Kerri Dalton was shopping with her child at Bed Bath and Beyond in Middletown, New Jersey.  She was stabbed more than a dozen times by Tyrik S. Haynes, a complete stranger.  This was described as another “random” attack where robbery was not the motive.   In July 2011 Nkosi Thandiwe shot three young females in Atlanta, Georgia, killing one and paralyzing another.  Dick Reed, a media analyst in Berkeley, wondered about, “the randomness of it.”

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Firemen First Principle


             A favorite tool of progressives to defend government spending is the "Firemen First Principle."  This term was coined by Charles Peters in 1976.  It states, "the public will support [the Clever Bureaucrat's] valiant fight against the budget reduction only if essential services are endangered. Thus, C.B. always picks on teachers, policemen, firemen first."  President Obama said Republicans have a choice: "Do you want to see a bunch of first responders lose their jobs because you want to protect some special interest tax loophole?"  The President complained, “Over the past four years, another 700,000 workers at the federal, state and local levels of government lost their jobs. These are cops and firefighters.  About half of them are people that work in our schools."  Millions more are concerned about possibly losing their jobs.
            The progressive media is more than happy to support this fraud.  An AP story dealing with Minnesota's budget battle is fairly typical.  It reads: "The blind are losing reading services.  A help line for the elderly has gone silent. And poor families are scrambling after the state stopped child-care subsidies."  The city of Ann Arbor laid off firefighters because of a serious budget deficit.  Due to an unwillingness to tax the "wealthy" the blind, the poor and the elderly must suffer.  Essential services must be curtailed.  Convicted murderers and rapists must be freed from prisons.
            The strategy must inconvenience the public as much as possible.  The cuts must impact the "most vulnerable" in a visibly dramatic fashion.  Yet there are obvious problems with the progressive portrayal of heartless Republicans.  The AP story gives as an example of hardship Sonya Mills, a 39-year-old mother of eight who is facing the loss of about $3,600 a month in state child-care subsidies.  That is more than $43,000 a year.  The city of Ann Arbor spent $850,000 on a piece of art while laying off its firefighters.  The water project was ultimately plagued by malfunctions after its completion.  
            Clearly progressives in government have a curious view of other people's money.  Former Congressman David Obey once referred to the cost of an item of pork as, "a lousy $8 million."  Senator Chuck Schumer told the Senate, “And let me say this, to all of the chattering class, that so much focuses on those little, tiny ‘ yes, porky’ amendments: The American people really don’t care.” It appears that progressives have the same outlook as their French brethren.  The French philosopher Jean-Fran├žois Revel asserted, "For French socialists, the main requirement for sound social policy is expenditure, not wise implementation.  Results are of secondary importance."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Vladimir Bukovsky's Defense of Diana West


       David Horowitz for some reason has abandoned the extremely successful progressive tactic for dealing with uncomfortable facts: ignore them.  He and Radosh compounded their mistake by personally attacking Diana West using adolescent name calling.  This has brought added publicity to West's work.  Would Vladimir Bukovsky have written a defense of the book if Radosh had been silent?  The correct way to discredit a work is to site statements and then give irrefutable evidence that they are incorrect.  Horowitz has not done this although he probably believes he has. 

       In Horowitz's response to Vladimir Bukovsky's endorsement of West he talks about West's supporters', "zeal in demonizing intellectual opponents," and says West attacked his and Radosh's character. He is grieved that Bukovsky has joined the "character assassins."  Bukovsky has defended West's "preposterous claims," her "absurd conclusions," and "ludicrous statements."   Does Horowitz see any inconsistencies here?  Is it possible that Bukovsky is also a "loopy right winger?"  Horowitz may not demonize his intellectual opponents but he certainly accuses them of having obtuse minds.
       Horowitz counters one of West's "preposterous claims" with an even more preposterous claim:  "Everyone knows" the division of Europe at Yalta was not a Soviet plot but was drawn by Winston Churchill.  I did not know that.  The division of Europe, even according to the court historians, was settled long before Yalta.  Certainly Churchill played a role.  However, his awareness of the realities and his desire to please Stalin was a large factor in his recommendations.  Churchill demonstrated the westward movement of the Polish frontier (with the help of three matches) at the Teheran Conference in 1943.  At the Moscow Conference in 1944 Churchill made his recommendations on spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. 
       Horowitz is not an expert on this period.  He cannot be blamed for that.  However, he has a responsibility to do some research before he condemns someone's conclusions.  If he relies on the court historians he will make absurd accusations.  Horowitz finds fault with West's claim,  “Unopposed, unchecked, these Red Army troops would ride their Lend-Lease fleets of Jeeps and Dodges deep into a Europe that was being ethnically cleansed of millions of anti-Bolsheviks by U.S. and British troops.”  I suggest he read Julius Epstein's Operation Keelhaul and Nicholas Bethell's The Last Secret.  These books will give him an idea about the ethnic cleansing of American and British areas.  Bethell claims this was done in compliance with a "solemn treaty."  Yalta was not solemn and it was not a treaty.  Had Roosevelt tried to have it passed by the Senate as a treaty he would have been impeached. 
       I am not an expert on the arguments about the D-Day invasion but I do have some knowledge of the Western Allies role in the modern slave trade. One of my sources is Steven Ambrose.  Ambrose did not willingly investigate this issue, but used it as a defense against James Bacque's claim that the Western Allies murdered one million POWs.  We did not starve these POWs to death according to Ambrose.  We sent them into slavery.  In order for a coverup to be successful everyone involved must play the same sheet of music.  In Ambrose's book Brian Villa hits a sour note stating: "the EAC terms became convenient for the British and any other nation that wanted German POW slave labor."  The consensus term is "enforced labor." 
       Perhaps more outrageous than the slave trade is the government engineered famine in Central Europe.  This is a subject that is so alarming that it must be covered up.  Yet the cover up has not been 100% successful.  As an example James Tent, a professor of history and a specialist on postwar German occupation writes: "By the spring of 1947, and thereafter to the end of the military occupation, the number and variety of supplemental programs expanded to the point that some observers asked with only slight irony if there were any normal consumers - that is, those consuming 1,550 calories a day - left in the British and American zones."  This is a lie.  It is a contemptible lie.  1947 was the worst year of this famine.  One needs only to turn 12 pages in the same book to see a photo of seven infants in various stages of malnutrition dated October 1947.  To murder one infant by starvation is a monstrous crime.  To kill thousands in indescribable.  To conceal this fact makes one an accomplice. Excuses must be found, not matter how implausible. Tent suggests that General Clay would not allow relief agencies to operate in his zone because he had a "distaste for carpetbaggers." The famine is attributed to a worldwide food shortage.  Yet Tent includes a quote from the secretary of agriculture stating that American farmers "produced a record crop" in 1946.   But what do I know.  I am not a professor or a certified specialist.   

       Bukovsky points out that we condemn the German population of the police state from looking the other way from and doing nothing about the Jewish annihilation under way in Nazi concentration camps.  There were serious consequences for people who protested government policies.  What is the excuse for Western media and academics. Their careers may suffer and they may not be invited to certain cocktail parties.  They will also be denied access.  There is enormous pressure to conform. But what is the outcome of their conformity?  Bukovsky asks, "How great is a moral difference between an executioner and a mere conformist?"   

       I have only one criticism of Bukovsky's defense of West.  He falls into the same progressive trap that West fell into.  Bukovsky states, "We have been accomplices to mass murders."  "We" have not been accomplices.  The people who committed mass murder and their collaborators have names.  They were specific individuals.  They and their crimes must be exposed.  They need to be exposed not only to correct the historical record, but to reveal their offspring.  Horowitz described Averill Harriman as "a stalwart anti-Communist."  He probably would describe Secretary of State Dean Acheson as an anti-Communist.  Acheson was famous for saying, "I do not intend to turn my back on Alger Hiss.”  Bukovsky states, "That treacherous Establishment is still there." There are thousands of descendants of the Harrimans and Achesons in the federal government.  To mention only one, Anita Dunn, who considers Mao Zedong one of her favorite political philosophers.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Benghazi Investigation




            After U.S. government officials were able to investigate the compound in Benghazi sensitive information remained scattered on the floor and reporters have recovered some of this information. Sensitive information was lost after the attack, but the government officials responsible for protecting this information do not appear to have been concerned about this situation. The efforts to secure the compound seemed halfhearted.

            On 13 September a reporter for the Guardian found a letter in the Benghazi compound from Ambassador Stevens which read, "For security reasons, we'll need to be careful about limiting moves off compound and scheduling as many meetings as possible in the villa."  On 14 September 2012 a CNN reporter found the Ambassador's journal on the floor of the compound where the Ambassador was “fatally wounded.” On October 3, 2012 a Washington Post reporter gathered a sampling of documents scattered on the floor of the facility.  "The documents detail weapons collection efforts, emergency evacuation protocols, the full internal itinerary of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’ trip to the city and the personnel records of Libyans who were contracted to secure the mission."

            Finally the FBI arrived in Libya to conduct its investigation on October 3.  They spent approximately 12 hours in Benghazi. One witness claimed the spent only three hours at the compound. How thorough was their investigation?  Attorney General Holder announced, "I'm satisfied with the progress."  On October 26th a Foreign Policy Magazine reporter visited the compound for a story for Dubai based Al Aan TV. He found several ash-strewn documents beneath the rubble of the compound.  One letter dated 9 September addressed to the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs dealt with a concern about a Libyan policeman photographing the inside of the compound and the lack of police protection.

            Well after the FBI conducted its investigation the compound still contained sensitive information.  Obviously the first people to have access to this information were the attackers.  What did they learn about our “weapons collection efforts?”  Could our “emergency evacuation protocols” give them vital information for future attacks?  The exposure of personnel records of Libyans cooperating with the U.S. could be fatal. Would this give people willing to cooperate with the U.S. second thoughts.  What other documents were available to the attackers?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Letter to Diana West

 Dear Diana, 

            I hope you have sent Ron Radosh and Conrad Black letters of appreciation for their critiques of you book.  They could not have done more to discredit your opponents if they had intentionally set out to make them look foolish. A total cynic would suspect that you paid them.  Rather than dealing with detailed criticism of your work they relied on vitriol.  Black calls your book a "farrago of lies."  He calls you and your supporters, "idiots: pernicious, destructive, fatuous idiots," who suffer from "myth-making and jejune dementedness."  I disagree with Black.  If I call him the "afterbirth of a flatulent pig," would this make my arguments more convincing?
            Both Ronald Radosh and Conrad Black refer to you as a "right-wing loopy."  Radosh condemns your, "yellow journalism conspiracy theories," your "truculent recklessness that gives anti-communism a bad name" and your "unhinged theories."  Your judgment is "bizarre on its face, but also unwarranted by the evidence." Your’s is a, "shallow and erroneous interpretation."  He claims your, "counterfactual speculations are not regarded as realistic possibilities by any reputable historian of the era," and your "book perpetuates the dangerous one dimensional thinking of the Wisconsin Senator."  You are "McCarthy on steroids."  This is all very convincing.  Radosh neglected to make the most devastating charge: "West is a poopoo head."  Pardon the sarcasm, but Radosh's accusations are not worthy of an intelligent discussion of complex issues. 
          This criticism of you sounds eerily familiar.  Similar things were said of Senator McCarthy, Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers.  You are condemned for believing in conspiracy theories.  What was the Communist infiltration of the U.S. government if not a conspiracy?  Radosh admits that he has no disagreement with you over whether the Roosevelt administration was infiltrated or whether Soviet dupes were influential in affecting administration policy.  The disagreement lies in your opinion of the extent of this influence.  Your critics claim that you exaggerate the extent of Communist influence on U.S. policy.   However, your critics attempt to minimize this influence. 
         Progressives have come to the defense of the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White and numerous others.  Radosh claims your allegation that, "Hopkins was an actual Soviet agent . . . is, in fact, not true."  Black called this an "unfounded new flourish."  How do they know this?  Loopy right-wingers have accused many administration officials of being Communists.  Many "experts" disagreed and questioned the sanity of such claims. When the evidence becomes overwhelming progressives quietly let the matter drop and go to the defense of the next "progressive."  Leftists are experts at deception.  Even obvious Soviet atrocities like the Ukrainian famine and the Katyn Massacre were denied for years by "progressives."  Someone approaching this subject without bias must conclude that the "loopy right-wingers" have more credibility than the "experts."
            I have read extensively on the subjects dealt with in your book, yet several items you deal with were entirely new to me. I had previously accepted the progressive myth that the policy of "unconditional surrender" had spontaneously popped out of FDR's head during the Casablanca Conference. As you point out this policy was the product of a committee which included several influential Soviet agents.  One might be tempted to ask, "What difference at this point does it make?" Well, although most Communists were removed from government in the early 50's their progressive comrades remained. Their offspring have captured the commanding heights of our society. They have almost total control of the media, academia and the government bureaucracy. From these commanding heights they are transforming our society. In order to do this they must conceal the part played by progressives in the massive crimes they were a party to.
          People come to the subject of Communist infiltration of the Roosevelt administration with a bias.  I come to the subject with an inclination to be suspicious of the Roosevelt administration.  After reading your book I realized that I had not been suspicious enough.  I knew American Communists had a decisive influence on American policy from the research I had done on my own book, The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy.  I have not examined Lend-Lease and the second front issues to any great extent, but I am thoroughly familiar with the policy devised for postwar Europe.  Here there is little doubt the Joseph Stalin was the "puppetmaster of American war policy."  Your claim that, “World War II could have been ended years earlier had Communists working for Moscow not dominated Washington," is certainly plausible.  This would not have required an entente with Hitler’s army against Stalin, only a sincere message that the U.S. government did not intend to turn Germany into a potato patch.
       Radosh cites S. M. Plokhy to show that the Soviets treated American POWs fairly well.  How familiar is Radosh with this subject?  One of the first acts of the Red Army upon entering Germany was to butcher 50 French and Belgian POWs at Nemmersdorf.  The Soviets believed that all POWs were traitors.  Stalin's own son, a prisoner of the Germans, may have committed suicide as a result of this Soviet policy.  Soviet treatment of U.S, POWs is more complex than can be dismissed with the statement, "the Soviets treated American POWs fairly well."  I suggest he read Nigel Cawthorne's Iron Cage.  
            One subject you did not cover was the progressives involvement in the modern slave trade. Perhaps you avoided this subject because it is obviously an absurd accusation that would have only increased the intensity of the progressive attack on your work. Absurd or not, according to Secretary of State, James Byrnes in his inappropriately entitled Frankly Speaking, "Forced labor camps are a symbol of Hitler's regime that we should eliminate as rapidly as possible." This would be fertile ground for an aspiring historian wanting to make a name for himself by exposing how evil "we" were.  
            I have only one criticism of your book, one that I believe you would totally agree with: your use of the word "we."   The current genre of historiography places a good deal of emphasis on "our" crimes.   Amerika is responsible for all kinds of crimes, real and imagined.  You say that "we" were accomplices in Soviet crimes.  When discussing U.S. recognition of the Soviet Union during the Ukrainian famine you claim "we" became "a passive accomplice to Stalin in the Ukraine."  When discussing the forced repatriation of Soviet citizens towards the end of the war, you state, "We became accessories to a Soviet atrocity."  You claim that in our dealings with the Soviets, "We had things to hide, too." Well "we" had and have nothing to hide. Once this is made clear the conundrum is solved. You point out that, "officialdom was enraged not by the danger posed by Hiss, but by Chambers for testifying to the danger." Progressives are more outraged by Joseph McCarthy than by Joseph Stalin. You quote Vladimir Bukovsky who explains "we now understand why the West was so against putting the communist system on trial. There was ideological collaboration between left-wing parties in the West and Soviet Union." As you have written, "The forces of concealment, East and West, had a common enemy in the forces of exposure, East and West." You are a member of the "forces of exposure" and as such not a "we."
            My book could be considered an anti-American book because of its criticism of American policy.  It is not.  The crimes detailed in the book are not America's crimes.  They are the crimes of a group of "progressives" who did not have America's interests at heart.  Finally, I would like to thank you for referencing my book and describing it as "devastating."  I will send you a copy of the second edition when it appears in the fall.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Response to Ron Rodash's Critique of American Betrayal



          People come to the subject of Communist infiltration of the Roosevelt administration with a bias and preconceived ideas.  I come to the subject with an inclination to be suspicious of the Roosevelt administration.  After reading Diana West's book I realized that I had not been suspicious enough.  I knew American Communists had a decisive influence on American policy from the research I had done on my own book, The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy.  I have not examined Lend-Lease and the second front issues to any great extent, but I am thoroughly familiar with the policy devised for postwar Europe.  Here there is little doubt the Joseph Stalin was the "puppetmaster of American war policy."  West's claim that, “World War II could have been ended years earlier had Communists working for Moscow not dominated Washington," is certainly plausible.  This would not have required an entente with Hitler’s army against Stalin.

          Ronald Radosh refers to Diana West as a "right-wing loopy."  He condemns her, "yellow journalism conspiracy theories," her "truculent recklessness that gives anti-communism a bad name" and her "unhinged theories."  Her judgment is "bizarre on its face, but also unwarranted by the evidence." West’s is a, "shallow and erroneous interpretation."  He claims, "her counterfactual speculations are not regarded as realistic possibilities by any reputable historian of the era," and "her book perpetuates the dangerous one dimensional thinking of the Wisconsin Senator."  She is "McCarthy on steroids."  This is all very convincing.  Radosh neglected to make the most devastating charge: "West is a poopoo head."  Pardon the sarcasm, but Radosh's accusations are not worthy of an intelligent discussion of a complex issue.  A 400 page book dealing with such a complex subject is certain to have issues that can be legitimately criticized without recourse to name calling.
         The criticism of West sounds eerily familiar.  Similar things were said of Senator McCarthy, Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers.  West is condemned for believing in conspiracy theories.  What was the Communist infiltration of the U.S. government if not a conspiracy?  Radosh admits that he has no disagreement with West over whether the Roosevelt administration was infiltrated or whether Soviet dupes were influential in affecting administration policy.  The disagreement lies in their opinion of the extent of this influence.  Her critics claim that she exaggerates the extent of Communist influence on U.S. policy.   However, her critics attempt to minimize this influence. 

         Progressives have come to the defense of the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White and numerous others.  Radosh claims West's allegation that, "Hopkins was an actual Soviet agent . . . is, in fact, not true."  How does Radosh know this?  Loopy right-wingers have accused many administration officials of being Communists.  Many "experts" disagreed and questioned the sanity of such claims.  Leftists are experts at deception.  Even obvious Soviet atrocities like the Ukrainian famine and the Katyn Massacre was denied for years by "progressives."  Someone approaching this subject without bias must conclude that the "loopy right-wingers" have more credibility than the "experts."

         Radosh cites S. M. Plokhy to show that the Soviets treated American POWs fairly well.  How familiar is Radosh with this subject?  One of the first acts of the Red Army upon entering Germany was to butcher 50 French and Belgian POWs at Nemmersdorf.  The Soviets believed that POWs were traitors.  Stalin's own son, a prisoner of the Germans, may have committed suicide as a result of this Soviet policy.  Soviet treatment of U.S, POWs is more complex than can be dismissed with the statement, "the Soviets treated American POWs fairly well."  I suggest he read Nigel Cawthorne''s Iron Cage

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kleifoth Memo


I have attempted to locate this "Kleifoth Memo" on the web but have been unsuccessful.  Fortunately I had made a copy of it several years ago.

We make decision based upon the information we gather.  Much of this information is gleaned from the media.  Therefore it is important that this information be accurate.  The Kliefoth memo demonstrated an inherent defect in the way information is reported.  In it Walter Duranty states that "in agreement with the New York Times and the Soviet authorities,' his official dispatches always reflected the official opinion of the Soviet regime and not his own."  In order to maintain his access to Soviet officials he had to distort the news.  He did this with the knowledge and agreement of the editors of the New York Times.
In 1939 famed journalist Walter Winchell told Franklin Roosevelt that Alger HIss was spying for the Soviets.  Winchell reported that Roosevelt, "Leaning closer and pointing a finger in my face, angrily said, 'I don't want to hear another thing about it!  It isn't true.'"  Winchell was not invited back to the White House for several months.  He had lost access.  It was a lesson he probably did not forget.  Loss of access can be fatal to a journalist's career. 

Duranty's behavior was similar to former CNN Head Eason Jordan who admitted in 2003 that he deliberately covered up Saddam Hussein's atrocities in order to maintain his access within Iraq.  A former CNN reporter, Amber Lyon,  claimed that she was ordered to send false news and exclude other news that the administration wanted suppressed in order to create support for an invasion of Iran.  How reliable is the news we are receiving about current crises? 



Monday, July 8, 2013

Rubachov's Lament


             In Arthur Koester's novel Darkness at Noon the character N.S. Rubashov expressed his misgivings about the party he had dedicated his life to.  He declared, "all our principles were right, but our results were wrong."  He asserted, "this is a diseased century," and, "we diagnosed the disease and its causes with microscopic exactness, but wherever we applied the healing knife a new sore appeared." He continued, "Our will was hard and pure, we should have been loved by the people.  But they hate us."  He asked himself, "Why are we so odious and detested?"  He concluded, "We brought you truth, and in our mouth it sounded a lie.  We brought you freedom, and it looks in our hands like a whip.  We brought you the living life, and where our voice is heard the trees whither and there is a rustling of dry leaves.  We brought you the promise of the future, but our tongue stammered and barked. . .”

            This was the lament of a compassionate man who believed in an elite's ability to regulate every aspect of human existence for the betterment of mankind.  It is also the lament of the current administration.  They have only the best interests of the American people at heart.  Why are they not loved?  Apparently the people do not understand their beneficent proposals.  Yet the more they explain their plans the greater the opposition becomes.  Perhaps this opposition is the result of the failure of their fundamental beliefs: the failure of Modernism.  Rule by expert; this is the essence of modernism.  Modernism was defined by Vaclav Havel, the former President of Czechoslovakia, as the belief that the world is "a wholly knowable system governed by a finite number of universal laws that man can grasp and rationally direct for his own benefit." It asserted that, “Man . . . was capable of objectively describing, explaining and controlling everything that exists."

In his speech before the World Economic Forum in Davos, Havel dated the end of the modern age at the fall of the Soviet Empire.  Architect Charles Jencks placed it much earlier: at exactly 3:32 P.M. on July 15, 1972.  This was the moment that the Pruitt-Igoe housing development in St. Louis, was demolished.  Like the East Falls Housing Project is Philadelphia, demolished in 2000, and the Cabrini-Green public housing project in Chicago, the Pruitt-Igoe housing development was an example of the thousands of housing projects constructed throughout the industrial world.  Their functional design made them perfect "machines for living in."   Unfortunately they shortly became uninhabitable.  These housing projects were representative of the failure of the modernist concept that experts could design a system to improve human existence on a massive scale.  The physical wreckage of these well intention schemes is easy to observe.  The psychological wreckage is more difficult to discern.

These housing projects were inspired by the work of architects like Le Corbusier.  Le Corbusier worked for years to promote a plan to demolish a large part of Paris and replace it with a logically designed layout.  He was the man with a plan.  He wrote that, "The despot is not a man. It is the . . . correct, realistic, exact plan . . . that will provide your solution once the problem has been posed clearly. . . . This plan has been drawn up well away from . . . the cries of the electorate or the laments of society's victims. It has been drawn up by serene and lucid minds."  These "serene and lucid minds" are the same people described by Edmund Burke: "Nothing can be conceived more hard than the heart of a thorough-bred metaphysician ... It is like that of the principle of evil himself, incorporeal, pure, unmixed, dephlegmated, defecated evil."

Modernist plans always entail sacrifice.  "You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs."  The novelist Upton Sinclair defended Soviet collectivization by saying, "They drove rich peasants off the land - and sent them wholesale to work in lumber camps and on railroads.  Maybe it cost a million lives - maybe it cost five million - but you cannot think intelligently about it unless you ask yourself how many millions it might have cost if the changes had not been made."  But as the British philosopher Isaiah Berlin pointed out, "The eggs are broken, and the habit of breaking them grows, but the omelette remains invisible."  In the 1980s sociologist Eva Etzione-Halevy pointed out what is becoming increasingly obvious: “the years in which the influence of the social scientists on policy has been growing have also been the years in which policy failures have been rife and in which a variety of formidable social problems have been multiplying."  Malcolm Muggeridge sarcastically remarked, “As more and more money is spent on education, illiteracy is increasing.  And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it didn’t end up with virtually the whole revenue of the western countries being spend on education, and a condition of almost total illiteracy resulting therefrom.”

What is the alternative to rule by “serene and lucid minds?”  It is a system that has proved successful for over two hundred years.   It is government by practical people untainted by the theories of the metaphysicians. Irving Kristol has pointed out that, “The common people . . .are not uncommonly wise, but their experience tends to make them uncommonly sensible.  They learn their economics by taking out a mortgage, they learn their politics by watching the local school board in action, and they learn the impossibility of ‘social engineering’ by trying to raise their children to be decent human beings.”  They are busy taking care of their small section of the world.  And for the most part, they do it responsibly.  As Thomas Hobbes wrote, “A plain husband-man is more Prudent in the affaires of his own house, than a Privy Counselor in the affaires of other men.”


John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, Algora Publishing.