Category Archives: History

The Fascists Lose In Italy–Again

Jonah Goldberg’s book has provided a clearer, better-focused lens through which to view the world. For instance, it now becomes clear that the recent Italian political earthquake was a victory for the true, classical liberal right, and a major defeat for a resurgence of the smiley-faced fascism that has held much of Europe in its grip for the past decades, despite the defeat of the more virulent forms of it in World War II. Here are the values that won, and lost:

The election campaign itself was the most rigorously fought in Italy since its liberation from Fascist rule in 1944. Berlusconi, often portrayed by the media as something of a clown if not a conjurer of tricks, put the case for a market-based capitalist and democratic system in simple but powerful terms.

His rival, former Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, leader of the new Democratic Party, succeeded in putting forward the case for a social-democratic system, with the state playing the central role as a distributor of wealth and welfare.

Berlusconi spoke of discipline, family values, hard work and individual generosity. Veltroni countered with his talk of solidarity, sharing and collective compassion.

Text coloration mine. All of the red rhetoric could have come right out of Benito Mussolini’s playbook. The green stuff is “right wing.”

With this defeat, and the complete political demise of one of the oldest and most extreme fascist movements–the Communist Party–perhaps the Italians have finally laid the old socialist to rest.

Remembering Slim Chipley

Most of my readers will find this of no interest at all, but I just ran across a new blog dedicated to remembering the good old days in Flint, Michigan. Nostalgic memories abound.

The population trend in the sidebar is depressing. When I was a kid it had a population of almost two hundred thousand, and there was an ongoing feud with Grand Rapids over whether it or Flint was the second largest city in the state (after Detroit, of course, which had its own hemorrhage of people). Now it’s down to just a little over half that.

[Update in the evening]

OK, again, unless you’re from southeast Michigan, this will be meaningless, but via the blog above, I found a coney blog. That actually understands the difference between Flint and Detroit style.

And there are those who say that it’s a lost art. For many, Angelo’s defined the Flint coney island, and once he died (my father was in the hospital with him at the same time, as they both had heart attacks in the late sixties), it became franchised, and lost the magic. But my mother used to tell me (and we even went there when I was young) that the original Flint Coney Island, on Saginaw, north of downtown, was the best. But it went under decades ago.

Anyway, I’m glad to hear that it’s a hit in Phoenix. Maybe we can keep the brand alive.

My darling Patricia doesn’t understand the appeal. But then, she’s not a fan of raw onions. Nor is she a fan of me after I ingest them. But once in a while, I have to indulge, consequences be damned…

Party Like It’s 1961!

It’s kind of late now if you didn’t make plans, and I gave advance notice a few days ago, but tonight is Yuri’s Night, as we are reminded by Phil Bowermaster.

And in response to a previous commenter that we shouldn’t be celebrating a Soviet victory in the Cold War, we should be long past that. We won, and in fact, if Gagarin hadn’t flown, we might not have gone to the moon. Of course, it’s debatable whether or not that was a good thing for our expansion into space, in light of the history since.

In any event, it’s an historical event, to celebrate the first time a human left the planet and went into space far enough to actually orbit, and almost half a century later, it transcends politics and a dead communist (and fascist) empire.

We aren’t attending a party, both because we’re not much on partying, if it means loud atrocious dance music, but also because the nearest (and only) one that anyone could muster up in Florida was up in Cocoa Beach. That nothing was organized in the metropolitan tri-counties of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade says something about the importance of space in our culture, but I’m not quite sure what.

Party Like It’s 1961!

It’s kind of late now if you didn’t make plans, and I gave advance notice a few days ago, but tonight is Yuri’s Night, as we are reminded by Phil Bowermaster.

And in response to a previous commenter that we shouldn’t be celebrating a Soviet victory in the Cold War, we should be long past that. We won, and in fact, if Gagarin hadn’t flown, we might not have gone to the moon. Of course, it’s debatable whether or not that was a good thing for our expansion into space, in light of the history since.

In any event, it’s an historical event, to celebrate the first time a human left the planet and went into space far enough to actually orbit, and almost half a century later, it transcends politics and a dead communist (and fascist) empire.

We aren’t attending a party, both because we’re not much on partying, if it means loud atrocious dance music, but also because the nearest (and only) one that anyone could muster up in Florida was up in Cocoa Beach. That nothing was organized in the metropolitan tri-counties of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade says something about the importance of space in our culture, but I’m not quite sure what.

Party Like It’s 1961!

It’s kind of late now if you didn’t make plans, and I gave advance notice a few days ago, but tonight is Yuri’s Night, as we are reminded by Phil Bowermaster.

And in response to a previous commenter that we shouldn’t be celebrating a Soviet victory in the Cold War, we should be long past that. We won, and in fact, if Gagarin hadn’t flown, we might not have gone to the moon. Of course, it’s debatable whether or not that was a good thing for our expansion into space, in light of the history since.

In any event, it’s an historical event, to celebrate the first time a human left the planet and went into space far enough to actually orbit, and almost half a century later, it transcends politics and a dead communist (and fascist) empire.

We aren’t attending a party, both because we’re not much on partying, if it means loud atrocious dance music, but also because the nearest (and only) one that anyone could muster up in Florida was up in Cocoa Beach. That nothing was organized in the metropolitan tri-counties of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade says something about the importance of space in our culture, but I’m not quite sure what.

Back In LA

I took a little longer to drive back from Phoenix because I did two things that I’ve never done, in all the times I’ve made that trip over the past thirty years. I stopped at the Colorado River in Blythe and walked across, and I stopped and did a quick tour of the Patton Museum at Chiriaco Summit. I’d show the pictures, but I don’t seem to have my card reader with me. I might pick one up at Fry’s tomorrow.

The latter was more impressive than I expected, considering that it’s private, not official. More so on the interior than outside, though. They have a number of tanks out there, in various states of decrepitude and disrepair, and no signs to provide any useful information about them. Still worth a visit, though, for anyone interested in military history.

War Critics Decry Interminable And Unwinnable Conflict

January 15th, 1945

WASHINGTON (Routers) With the “Allied” forces continuing to be bogged down in the Ardennes Forest, many are questioning Roosevelt administration war policies, the unreasonable length of the war, and even whether or not it can be won.

The 7th Army’s VI Corps is waging a desperate, and perhaps futile battle with German troops, surrounded on three sides in the Alsace region. A whole month after the beginning of the renewed German offensive, with almost twenty-thousand American troops dead in this battle alone, there remains no clear end in sight, or hope that the American lines can be closed.

There are serious questions about the competence of Generals Bradley and Patton, concerns that were only heightened shortly after the beginning of the battle, when two armies from Bradley’s army group were removed from his command and placed under that of the British General Montgomery. General Montgomery’s comments in a press conference a week ago have served only to buttress such legitimate doubts. He didn’t even mention their names in describing the limited efforts to recapture lost ground, that remains unsuccessful, with the Germans continuing to take the initiative.

Many point out that these lengthy battles, and lengthy wars, are somehow indicative of a fundamental failure of American policy, not just in waging the war, but in the very decision to enter into it.

“It’s not just that we’re a whole month into this battle with no clear resolution or exit strategy. In a few more months, this war will have gone on as long as the Civil War,” said one Republican critic of the administration. “And that one was Americans against Americans. We should have expected to do much better against Germans. After all, this war has now gone on twice as long as World War I, when we mopped up the Kaiser in a year and a half.” He went on, “It’s clearly the fault of this Roosevelt administration, that lied us into war, and then botched it. I’ll bet that had Tom Dewey won the election a couple months ago, he would have exercised his judgment by immediately implementing his policy of not having entered the war.”

Others disagree. One administration spokesman has said on background that this seems like flawed logic.

“One can’t judge war progress by a calendar. Wars aren’t run on a schedule, and every one is different,” he pointed out. “And neither can one judge the progress of a battle that way, or by the casualty count. Often the heaviest fighting occurs just before victory. Our heaviest losses at Normandy were just before we took the beach and the cliffs.”

“Yes, the fighting is fierce in the Ardennes now, but Hitler is waging a war on two fronts, and he’s down to young boys and old men as soldiers. We will simply have to outlast him, and I’m confident that we will start making serious progress into Germany in a month.”

But war opponents will have none of it.

“This administration has been telling us we’ve been winning for two and a half years, ever since Midway,” said the leader of one of the prominent anti-war groups. After over three years of killing and terror, it’s time to stop the lies, and the war.”

I Wouldn’t Have Guessed That

The last Soviet premiere was a Christian.

I find arguments (such as Dennett and Dawkins, and Hitchens) put forth that religion is the source of all evil in the world to be tendentious. Much evil has been (and continues to be) done in the name of a god, but the most nihilistic, murderous regimes in history, in the twentieth century, were godless. Belief in God (or lack thereof) is neither a necessary, or sufficient condition for evil acts. The real dividing line, as Jonah points out, is not whether or not one is a deist, but whether or not one is an individualist. Say whatever else you want about a classically liberal society–it might leave some behind, but it won’t murder them wholesale.