Category Archives: History

Four changes if I were king of America

I’ve made them non-political, strictly symbolic. They are

  1. The national anthem shall be changed to America the Beautiful; an accessible song with a solid melody and natural meter; and the Star Spangled Banner will be consigned to history, where it will be of much interest to our eventual tone-deaf robot overlords
  2. Daylight Savings Time shall be abolished. Trying to fool the sun sets a bad example for children and weakens our moral fiber
  3. Calvin Coolidge shall be worked into Presidents Day somehow. We’re long overdue for rewarding people who do their job quietly, with no drama
  4. We shall come up with a simple way to properly fold the US Flag that does not require two people

What would y’all do?

An interesting thought experiment

PurpleSlog has an interesting thought experiment of What Five Places/Events Would You Visit With A Time Machine? They are

  1. Israel at the start of Christianity (the same as PurpleSlogs)
  2. The Kennedy Assassination – I’m partial to the Oswald acted alone theory, but it would be nice to know for sure.
  3. The Russian revolution
  4. The writing of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution
  5. The White House with Lincoln during the Civil War

Garrison States

I was listening to this diavlog recently and one of the participants (Daniel Deudney) remarked that the Wilsonian “Make the world safe for democracy” mantra of World War I was not so much referring to bringing democracy to monarchic parts of the world so much as making the world non-threatening enough so that America could maintain it’s non-militaristic way of life and avoid becoming a “Garrison State”.

I haven’t thought about it for a while, but several years ago I thought that was the strongest argument for the Iraq war. Not sufficient on it’s own, but a good reason. The threat in WWI was European militarism; now it’s “The Gap” but the example still holds. The term “Garrison State” is a useful one to describe a militarized police state.

Reagan and the Cold War

One of the many annoying things I often hear is “Reagan won the Cold War”. It’s the wrong question. While the Cold Warn certainly wasn’t won by Jimmy Carter, it wasn’t Reagan either. Here is the analogy I use.

Imagine two men in a bar. They’ve just finished fighting other people together. After that fight is done, they start to squabble amongst themselves. Both men pull guns and a tense standoff ensues.

Neither side has a clear edge as both guns are comparable and effective. The standoff continues for quite some time. Both parties upgrade their weaponry periodically. One of the people spends all of his non-weapon money on health food, while the other spends all of his non-weapon money on crystal meth and salty snacks. After a while the first health food person buys a pricey new SA80 rifle. The meth/salt guy complains about a new arms race, then has a heart attack and dies.

That’s the end of the Cold War. The canard “We outspent them” ignores the fact that Communism is not capable of utilizing resources efficiently, and if the Soviets hadn’t been using their resources on weapons they would be wasting the resources some other way. While Reagan did see the evil nature of communism accurately, he wasn’t responsible for the heart attack. Happily, communism is self-limiting that way.

The quotable Dwight Eisenhower

While perusing WikiQuote while waiting for some files to upload I came across these nuggets of wisdom

if a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.

An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.

If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.

In his case, there seems to be no final answer to the question, “How stupid can you get?”

The runner up

The United States never lost a soldier or a foot of ground in my administration. We kept the peace. People asked how it happened — by God, it didn’t just happen, I’ll tell you that.

Any my favorite

Oh, goddammit, we forgot the silent prayer.