Trying to Start a War?

So the Dimmocrats, who earn their name every day, want to confiscate your guns. Oh, they say they’ll buy them back, and if New Zealand’s recent experience is any guide, they’ll give you about a quarter of their value, and throw you in jail if you object. Ain’t tyranny wonderful?

Well confiscating the law-abiding citizen guns has been tried here before, of course. The last time was on April 19, 1775. The results weren’t promising, it started the Revolutionary War. I think that might be a bad precedent.

Maybe, just maybe, they should try enforcing the laws already on the books. If you don’t read blogs like Second City Cop, you have no idea just how frustrated the police are. What with the court putting murderers on the street on bail with an ankle monitor, and insanely short sentences if they bother to show up, it’s not hard to see why.

Then there is the evasion of their own responsibility, which we just saw with Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago and her attempt to blame Republicans in Indiana for Chicago’s self-imposed problems.

By the way, there were two, count ’em, two, mass shooting in Chicago over the Labor Day weekend. What’s that? You didn’t see that on TV? Neither did anybody else. It was black people killing black people, and thusly of no interest to the left. It never is, plantation violence is background noise. Nobody but the police even try to do anything about it, and they hamstring every effort to help.

But hey, your AR-15 will probably, all on its own, go out one night and shoot up the neighborhood. David Harsanyi at The Federalist has some thoughts as well.

And they do it without any evidence that it would curtail rare mass shootings or save lives.

While national confiscation would be unprecedented in American history, we already possess hard evidence that bans of assault rifles don’t alter gun violence trends. Gun homicides continued to drop steeply after an “assault weapons” ban expired in 2004. It’s also worth noting that in 2017, the last year of available FBI data, there was a near-historic low of 7,032 murders with handguns, and 403 by “rifles” of any kind, not only “assault weapons.”

To put that in perspective, there were 1,591 knife homicides during that same span, 467 people killed with blunt objects, and another 696 with fists and kicking. (Not every police department reports the type of gun used in homicides (3,096 of them), but it’s reasonable to believe that similar trends apply, since those murders took place in big cities where handguns are most prevalent.)

Although a number of Democrats now unequivocally support a “buyback,” no one has explained how the procedure is supposed to unfurl. What will the penalty be for ignoring the “buybacks”? Fines? Prison terms?

Will local police be tasked with opening case files on the 100 million homes of suspected gun owners who are armed with hundreds of millions of firearms, or will it be the FBI? Maybe Democrats will propose “paying back” family members and neighbors who snitch on gun owners? How else will they figure out who owns these AR-15s? There is no national tracking of sales.

And there won’t be. New Zealand, after it’s government’s stupid and panicked attempted buyback this year, has had to admit that they have no idea how many weapons there are in Kiwi land. Good, that’s how it should be.

And strangely enough, if you don’t care about legality, even in Britain, it seems not all that difficult to obtain guns, and unlike America, real military weapons, select-fire and all.

Well, they always could have listened to Churchill who commented that when you destroy a free market you create a black market.

Of course, even Churchill’s family caught the disease, I noticed yesterday that his grandson, Sir Christopher Soames, who has been in Parliament since 1983, I think, has lost the whip, and been deselected by the Conservative Party for reelection for wanting to remain a Euro-peon. Probably why you don’t hear much about the Churchills between John, first Duke of Marlborough and Lord Randolf, Sir Winston’s father. An easy and soft life doesn’t breed good leaders.

A Lying Execrable Plagiarist, and His Helpers at the Smithsonian

Like just about everybody else that knows anything about American history, I’ve fulminated about the crap (which is what Mitch Daniels, then Governor of Indiana and now President of Purdue called it when Zinn finally died) that is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States which is not only bad history slanted far left  but full of  plagiarism, as the main link today tells us.

In any case, what brings this on is that The Smithsonian is sponsoring some seminars to help history teachers to lie (perhaps inadvertently) to their students by promoting Zinn’s execrable pseudohistory. Mary Grabar explains on The Federalist:

This semester, the Smithsonian Institution is helping. Teachers will learn new teaching strategies and receiving continuing education credits at two “teach-ins” — on Sept. 7 in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and on Sept. 28 in New York City.

Both “teach-ins” are efforts of our national museum, the Smithsonian, and D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, “a project of Teaching for Change.” The invitation promises to feature “classroom resources for K-12 from Native Knowledge 360 [Degrees]” and from “the Zinn Education Project, including the campaign to abolish Columbus Day.”

The Zinn Education Project’s Infiltration

The Zinn Education Project is a nonprofit launched by one of Zinn’s former Boston University students who was taken in by the radical professor’s tales of derring-do in protesting the Vietnam War and, in spite of Zinn’s pro-communist rhetoric, had done quite well for himself as a capitalist.

The Zinn Education Project’s mission is to distribute materials from its namesake’s record-breaking best-seller, “A People’s History of the United States,” in the form of downloadable K-12 lessons on such topics as imperialismLatinxLGBTQsocial classprison uprisings, Black Lives Matter, reparations, and immigration. Zinn died in 2010, but these lessons are updated by his acolytes, such as Adam Sanchez, who, in a lesson titled “When Black Lives Mattered: Why Teach Reconstruction,” claims President Trump’s “racist rhetoric and policies have provided an increasingly encouraging environment for attacks on Black people and other communities of color.”

Our tax money at work, undermining the United States. Time to privatize the Smithsonian, and tax the hell out of it.

Many of you know that I fell in love with history when I was about eight years old. I happened to check out of the library with a biography of US Grant, and I was off.  By the time I graduated high school I probably had 150 or so books on history, lots of it military history. Those books burned with dad’s house,  and I’m still replacing some of them. But a lot of the reason is that I stumbled across some that knew how to tell a story, and yes, some were historical romances. But you know, those romances, interested me enough in some parts of history to follow up with real history,  Like the invasion of Quebec up the Kennebec River during the Revolution, or the life of William the Marshal, First Earl of Pembroke, and the man who actually made Magna Charta law. The absolute best for me was Bruce Catton on the American Civil War, but Winston Churchill on the First Duke of Marlborough wasn’t all that far behind. There were many others, and others have joined the list over the years.

The thing is, when my stepdaughter was in eighth grade,  she asked me for help with her history class. I tried to read the chapter in her book (I don’t know if it was Zinn’s, quite a while ago now) but I simply couldn’t force my way through it. It was both amazingly dry and badly written, and much of it was false: a political screed.

There is an antidote for Zinn’s crap. It is Wilfred M. McClay’s Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story. I’ve read many reviews of it, unless blinded by prejudice they are all outstanding, Here’s one from Amazon:

“This book is the antidote to abysmal levels of historical knowledge our high school graduates possess. History bores them; the textbooks are dreary; lessons play up guilt and identity politics. It turns them off. They want powerful tales and momentous events, genuine heroes and villains, too―an accurate but stirring rendition of the past. This is Bill McClay’s Land of Hope, a superb historian’s version of the American story, in lively prose spiced with keen analysis and compelling drama. Every school that assigns this book will see students’ eyes brighten when the Civil War comes up, the Progressive Era, the Depression, civil rights . . . The kids want an authentic, meaningful heritage, a usable past. McClay makes it real.”
― Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation

Yes, it’s on my list, and thankfully nearing the top of it. To be honest, I have other interests,  like eating, that subtracts more than I like from my book budget. Especially if you have kids, but for yourself as well – buy this book, borrow it from a friend, check it out of the library, whatever – read it.

Before the Dumbest Generation destroys the country we love.

Too small? Or a Leadership Deficit.

The Week asks the question, is the Royal Navy too small to deal with the Iranian threat.

The Royal Navy is too small to counter the potential threat from Iran, the defence minister has admitted.

Tobias Ellwood told The Times: “The threats we’re facing are changing in front of us, the world is getting more complex. If we are wanting to continue to play this influential role on the international stage it will require further funding for our armed forces, not least the Royal Navy. Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe.”

The Guardian says the British government is facing accusations it had “failed to sufficiently guard its shipping in the Gulf.”

The Independent says the crisis has “roiled UK politics” ahead of a “potentially contentious week” in which Boris Johnson is likely to take over as prime minister from Theresa May.

Well, OK, even Sir Humphrey at PinstripedLine sort of concurs.

The first thing to take away is not to sit there and feel despondency that the RN ‘only’ has one frigate in the region. Other than the US, no other nation has warships permanently based in the Gulf region. To act as if the RN has failed for doing something that practically no one else can do is a uniquely British characteristic.

The harsh reality is that had the tanker had flown the flag of convenience of any other state, then it is likely that said country would not have had an escort anywhere near the Gulf on the day of the incident. The RN may ‘only’ have one vessel permanently based in the region, but that’s one more than most other navies. Perspective matters here.

The RN force in the Gulf has remained relatively static for decades in its structure and size. Back in the 80s it averaged 3-4 escorts supported by a tanker and store ship. Humphreys instinct is that the reason for this slightly larger force was to provide mutually complementary air defence capabilities in a time when RN vessels had more specialised roles (e.g. the so-called 42/22 combo) and needed to work together to deliver the effect. This period also saw a reliance on the use of Mombasa as the main support base, meaning a long passage off station, reducing the number of vessels in the Gulf.

By contrast more modern vessels not only have more effective and mutually complementary weapon systems (compare a Type 23 to an Exocet Leander for example), but they are also able to rely on facilities more locally for support (e.g. Bahrain).

The actual force numbers have remained remarkably constant for decades now – with an average of 1-2 escorts in the Gulf region on an enduring basis. The real change has been the move to a permanently based frigate in the region, rather than overlapping deployments, which has increased ship availability, but reduced the number of RN hulls transiting into, and out of, the region. The overall effect delivered is broadly similar but delivered in a different way.

Suggestions that defence cuts have left the RN without enough ships in the Gulf then are wide of the mark. The RN escort force in the region has been consistent in its size and capability for decades, regardless of wider defence cuts – the RN choosing to prioritise the region over other areas to ensure a continuous presence. Perhaps a bigger challenge than force size is the problem of distances for the force.

Later on, he says this:

What matters now is the safe release of the crew and the continued safety of the Royal Navy crew in the region. Let us keep this foremost in our minds as they once again sail difficult waters and conduct challenging operations to keep this nation safe where the tactical actions of (often very young and very junior) personnel will have strategic consequences. There is no doubt though that once again our nation’s finest people will rise to the challenge admirably.

Well yeah, that is perhaps important, but somehow I doubt that Drake or Nelson would be excited by this dry bureaucratese. I find myself agreeing with CBD over at Ace’s, it ain’t the number of ships, it’s the men (and women) commanding them.

It’s not the size of the Royal Navy, it’s the size of Britain’s balls that’s the problem.

Is the Royal Navy too small to deal with Iranian threat?

Tobias Ellwood told The Times: “The threats we’re facing are changing in front of us, the world is getting more complex. If we are wanting to continue to play this influential role on the international stage it will require further funding for our armed forces, not least the Royal Navy. Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe.”

The issue isn’t the size and reach of the Royal Navy; it has been shrinking for years. The issue is that the United Kingdom has been emasculated by its elites, who would rather kowtow to the maniacal SJWs and cultivate voting blocs within immigrant populations than defend the culture and history of their country. The result is a country without a core; one that is unwilling to defend itself even in response to a direct and obvious provocation from a country that is reeling from sanctions and is lashing out at the world.

I have no doubt whatsoever of that being true. It’s true here as well. but not as badly. The elites/ globalists or whatever you wish to call them, want us all to be what Malvina Reynolds described so well back in 1962:

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Well, those people aren’t going to make Britain great again. The Brits, like the Americans, built the joint against great odds. And none of the people she described in the song are going to use Nelson’s Telescope, let along go against the standing orders to win the battle that would win Britain supremacy for a century. This is the navy that once executed an admiral for not engaging aggressively enough but now sold to middle management who only know how to tick the boxes.

But that’s not strictly a naval problem, it is the base problem with HMG, which has sold itself to the EU, and their gray dull, masters only want subservience. It a formula for losing and losers. England Expects Better. They deserve it too.

And there is the real task that Boris (and Trump) have each undertaken. And it needs the stamp “ACTION THIS DAY

Eighty Years On

Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the Munich agreement, where Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of the UK essentially ceded the Sudetenland, a German heritage area (and vital to the defense of Czechoslovakia) to Adolph Hitler.

I have more sympathy for Chamberlin than most do. My analysis says that if Britain (and France) had gone to war in 1938, they would have lost. The British rearmament was just gearing up, and the things that would save Britain in 1939 were not available in 1938.

What has come down to us though, is that it is always unwise to appease a totalitarian. That is often true. It probably was in the case of Gulf War 1, the second Iraq war is not nearly as clear.

There are cases coming up, mostly in the intersections between Russia, China, and Iran in the Eurasian landmass, where like trying to save Czechoslovakia, it might be clearly an overstretch for the United States to interfere.

That does not mean that we must sit back and allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, or colonize a goodly chunk of the near east.

We too have our vital interests, centering on keeping the maritime trade routes open, and our allies, most of whom, other than Israel are parts of Oceania. One can even make this case for Britain, itself, although what we would have in times past called Christendom, roughly western Europe, is also a vital American interest.

There’s an interesting discussion of this here.

But our own, overriding vital interest is the freedom and liberty of Americans, nothing at all may be allowed to interfere with this interest. Compared to this, all other interests are secondary

In a sense, America holds the ring, keeping the Eurasian conflict confined to Eurasia.

We need to see clearly what is, and what is not, in our vital interest. As Russia and China also recognize, nuclear war is in nobody’s interest, the problem arises with rogue states like Iran and North Korea, who may not understand that calculus, which is why we need to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons because it is not a given that deterrence will work with them. That is one of America’s most vital interests.

Perhaps these or similar thoughts inspired my friend, the Administrator of All along the Watchtower (and inactive editor here) Chalcedon 451 to recall to us (in a Tweet) a post of his, which has much relevance for us.

[…]In the end, politics is a second order activity. As the third Marquis of Salisbury once said: ‘God is love and the world is what it is. Explain that?’ The answer is that we are a fallen species. At best we can produce Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and St. Francis; at worse, we produce Attila, Alexander Borgia and Hitler. We have the instincts of angels, and of demons. St Paul knew, as our faith knows, that left to ourselves we will veer off and like the dog return to its vomit. Original Sin is the one dogma that can be proven from our own experience of ourselves.

Politics can cure relatively few of our ills. At best there are some good people there who wish to make a difference to the lives of their fellows; the problem comes when they take the short cut of using the resources of others to fulfil that purpose. The intention is good, but the State is not a person and it is generally a mistake to allow its cold charity to replace the instincts of the human heart. It is best if politicians remember they are merely instruments in God’s hand and do not imagine they are that hand, or even God himself. In an era when faith in God is less, it was replaced by faith in politicians and the State; we are coming to the end of the short era in which that appeared to be a viable option to even the politicians.

People want to be told things are going to be all right in the end; children always want a good night story which ends well. That is not how life is. It is easy, tempting and inevitable that I should end by saying we need a Churchill. But we ought to recall that for the whole of the 1930s he was ignored and in the wilderness. The new democracy did not wish to be lectured or told that all was not going to be well. It wanted to believe that there would be ‘peace in our time’; it wanted to believe that Hitler was not evil in human form; it wanted, and got, its good night story. It also reaped the whirlwind.

‘Blood, toils, tears and sweat’, that was what Churchill promised us in 1940. That same democracy which had wanted pretty lies, woke up and took the truth on the chin. Our politicians are wrong to underestimate our capacity for hearing the truth spoken; as they are to underestimate our need for fairy stories.

From Conservatism, and you should read the rest even though I have presumed to grab more than I should.

There is a lot packed into those short paragraphs, and they are valid for us all. As we reflect on what the last eighty years have taught us, I think Chalcedon’s message strikes quite close to the heart of several of history’s messages to us.

The Psalmist reminds us:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

That is good advice for us all.

1776, and a Travel Warning

 

 

 

 

 

And thus it started. If you haven’t seen the movie, do find it.

As Winston Churchill reflected on July fourth, 1918

“The Declaration of Independence is not only an American document. It follows on Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights as the third great title-deed on which the liberties of the English-speaking people are founded. By it we lost an Empire, but by it we also preserved an Empire. By applying its principles and learning its lesson we have maintained our communion with the powerful Commonwealths our children have established beyond the seas…We therefore join in perfect sincerity and simplicity with our American kith and kin in celebrating the auspicious and glorious anniversary of their nationhood.”

Lafayette, nous voilà!

Crowds cheer US general John Pershing in Paris in 1917 as it is announced that America will join the conflict Photo: GETTY

Today is an anniversary, for a hundred years ago today, 6 April 1917, the United States declared war on Imperial Germany. This marked our entrance into what was called until at least 1940, The Great War. But more it marks the beginning of what has come to be called the American century.

The title of the piece is what General Pershing is supposed to have said later that summer when amidst the adoring French crowd, he stood at Marquis de Lafayette’s grave. More likely it was his aide Charles E. Stanton. It marks the point when the Republic for the first time raised its standard for the freedom of other people rather than directly for Americans.

Winston Churchill said that the Great War and World War II constituted another Thirty Years war. He has a point, but others contend that the two wars and the Cold War constitute what they like to call “The Long War”. That too has merit, for all of these conflicts, spanning around 75 years, constitute an almost constant conflict to keep Europe free. One could argue that it still continues.

For those of us that read history, two (or more) wars this close together tend to be interesting. We can trace the junior leaders of one, as the senior commanders of the next. General Marshal was on Pershing’s staff, General Patton led the first armored force in American history, General MacArthur commanded an Infantry Division. One of the pictures I’ve carried in my mind for years is one I cannot find, it showed MacArthur and Patton standing erect in no man’s land conferring with each other. One can almost hear Bill Mauldin yelling back from World War Two, telling then to lie down, they’re likely to draw fire and get somebody hurt! We saw the same thing with Captain Grant and Colonel Lee (and many others) in the Mexican War.

So many things come from the Great War. Phrases such as “Over the Top”, which referred to mounting an attack out of the trenches, and the western revulsion towards chemical weapons. This was when the Marines got their sobriquet of Devil Dogs, bestowed by the Emperor of Germany, Kaiser Bill, himself, which is why we often write it Teufel Hunden. It is also when Belleau Wood lost its name, it is now  “Bois de la Brigade de Marine“, in honor of the 5th and 6th Regiments of Marines. You can read about it here, even if a then obscure Army Artillery captain thought the damned Marines got entirely too much publicity, That captain was Harry Truman.

Here is the first glimmering of American air power, first in the Lafayette Escadrille, and later in the Air Service, which would grow and in 1948 turn into the United States Air Force.

This is when the First Infantry Division became the “Rock of the Marne”. And on and on. And yet we don’t really study this war much. We were heavily involved but not for all that long, and our casualties were pretty low by the standards of the other participants. It also fits between the two biggest wars in American history, our Civil War and World War II, in both of which we had a much more major role, although one tends to think we were decisive in winning the first war as well.

But the results were decisive, indeed. When we entered the war, Britain was nearly starving, and the financial center of the world had moved from London to New York. France was worn out, Russia was making a separate peace. We didn’t win the peace though, the European allies forced through a victor’s peace on Germany, which would nearly guarantee the rematch. The solution of the end of the Ottoman Empire in the middle east has repercussions to this day, China was unhappy that Japan got some territory from it at Versaille.

This war marks the point where America assumed the leadership of what we call the Free World and started Europe on the downward slope we still see today. It may be a causal factor, because of the casualties that the Europeans incurred, especially in the young leaders.

As early as the fall of 1914, Germany simply couldn’t afford to lose, but they couldn’t win either. France and Britain weren’t in much better shape, only America was left to influence the outcome, just as in 1941, although it is close to risible to claim that Britain and France were actually fighting for democracy, although they were probably closer to it than Germany was. But, you know, both did become much more democratic because of the war, even if it was an unintended consequence.

A hundred years ago, today, we can see the first vague outline of the world we live in today, the one that America built on the shoulders of the British Empire.

Today was the day that Congress sent the word, and that word changed the world.

Very good article here in the £ Telegraph

 

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