Tag Archives: history

Destruction Compared: Atom Bomb Vs. Government

Seared on the minds of the American psyche like permanent light etchings on metal from the blast of an atomic bomb is the horror that was our annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an ultimately successful attempt to strike the final death-blow to the god-complex surrounding the Japanese Prime Minister necessary to end World War 2.

With these two ominous mushroom clouds forever hanging in our collective memory, it is easy to forget that is history now and Hiroshima and Nagasaki might not be what we Americans expect them to be.

And conversely, in our hotbed of industrialization and commercialization and progress, it is easy to forget that those places the government has lavished substantial attention on may not be the paradises we envision they ought to be.

First, there is the cloud we all know so well. That evidence of ultimate destruction, the mushroom cloud. But where we see this eternal spectre, the enterprising Japanese, freed from their oppressive military/industrial complex serving the whims of sycophantic minions of the Emperor-god Hirohito, have turned a thousand-year wasteland into this:

Hiroshima Japan

Where is that man-made desert of radioactive fallout we’d expect? Not here apparently.

Compare that thriving scene with this image that is becoming all too common in that cesspool of government largesse, Detroit:

Detroit Michigan

Depressed is a charitable description.

Maybe we should drop a few more A-bombs?

Just kidding. And honestly, the Japanese government tends to be significantly more meddlesome on average and for a longer time than the US government. But when you look at the wasteland and tragedy that once was this shining city of American ability and pride, the automobile capital of the world, that is now an also-ran laughing stock for most and a hell-hole and increasingly decrepit pit for many of those unfortunate enough to live there, there really is little comparison between this place that ought to be surging and that place, which we generally write off in our mind’s eye.

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My Life In History

A Century Turns: New Hopes, New FearsA Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears is Bill Bennett’s latest book of current American History in a series that loosely includes the more formal series America: The Last Best Hope.

A Century Turns chronicles the last 20 years of American socio-political history from the perspective of a proud, cautious, involved, and hopeful American.

When picking up history books one expects to find events with which they cannot relate. I didn’t live during the Battle of the Bulge any more than I did the War of 1812. And there is a significant disconnect which makes study of history a true study, and not just an experience.

A Century Turns tells history, but the one telling is one who was there, one who was involved in the choices that shaped our country and the world as we know them today. And the story is one I lived through.

Perhaps my earliest memory of political affairs was the inauguration of George Bush, the senior. I remember watching on television as he spoke and watching him ride and walk in the parade from the Capital to the White House. I was 6 then.

When I started working at 14 I spent a lot of time listening to Rush Limbaugh on his original station, News Talk 1530 KFBK out of Sacramento. I was aware of events and began to be involved in them on a local level, writing letters to the editor of our local rag, speaking at City Counsel meetings. The events of the last 20 years are all memories to me. And Bennett wrote about them as history.

From the LA Riots to the OJ Simpson debacle. From the home grown terrorist acts of the 90’s to the growth of Islamic jihad to it’s breaking point over our shores and on our peace-seeking psyches. From the dalliances of politicians in the Democratic party to the indiscretions of politicians in the Republican party. Bennett chronicles the currents that have shaped our world so severely and significantly in the last 20 years.

I get the sense, reading old history, that the world changes slowly. It’s massive weight fighting change with inertia. And yet, in just my own brief lifespan so much has changed. From the dominant social theories to the scrappy upcoming ideas, change is coming fast.

One thing the book lacks, but not from purposeful omission, is the sense that history is perhaps always like that. While it is true that the more things change the more they stay the same, it is also true that things change. And some that is lost in that change can never be brought back.

A Century Turns is an excellent book for contextualizing the history of the lifetimes of me and my peers. It helps to see how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go.

Bennett ends with the election of then Senator Barak Obama to the office of the President of the United States of America:

There was a deep recession in the land. There were unfinished wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri were still alive. Russia was flexing its muscles. And a new president, with a new approach to the country and the world, would take the reins of power with new hopes and new fears on many sides of him and the country he was charged to lead.

Finding Proof In Silence

What is truth?

Perusing Hulu this morning I saw a National Geographic series “Mysteries of the Bible“.  Considering the source is National Geographic I didn’t have much hope for the accuracy of the show but I started watching the first available episode anyway.

Episode 2 purports to investigate the historicity of the nativity narrative.

With an authoritative voice, the narrator begins a list of “fact” after “fact” intended to disprove the majority of the story of the birth of Christ.

Using phrases like “most historians” and an awful lot of “but’s”, the show, in the first 5 minutes, proceeded to claim that because only two gospels mention the nativity narrative and those two mention different aspect of the narrative, they must be disagreeing.

Just a thought experiment here: If my wife and I were to describe a trip we took together and I mentioned how beautiful the scenery was on the drive and she mentioned how pleasant it was at the lake we visited as our destination, would our two stories, through their difference, contradict each others?

I thought not.

Apparently, because one the the gospels only mentions the shepherds and another gospel mentions the wise men, and only one of the gospels mentions that there was a census that prompted Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem, those stories must be figments of the minds of the individual writers.

Using interviews with only a couple “experts” looking and sounding so very authoritative with their reasonable words, the show uses shoddy historical research. Actually I take that back, the show doesn’t even bother checking the historical proofs. The only document they use to support the nativity narrative is the Bible, which they’re trying mightily to disprove. If they can taint the Bible, they’ll have won the argument without a fight.

The problem is that there are a plethora of authoritative sources besides the Bible which can corroborate the historicity of not just the bare fact of Jesus’ birth, but the additional and critical details as well.

National Geographic knows the average viewer will not notice the lack of factual analysis. They know the average viewer tunes into the TV and turns off their mind, accepting anything and everything reported as fact, as fact. There is no critical thinking, no analysis.

This is a cherry picking attempt to discredit the Bible and one of the core narratives it contains. And it may end of shaking the faith of some credulous souls.

For my part I could only stomach 10 minutes of the show, and the logical fallacies, the complete and utter lack of historical data presented, the lack of alternate opinions presented all pointed to this being a hack job so overwhelmingly I couldn’t push myself to watch the rest.

Government Successes

Obama's Health Care - You're going to get screwed
Obama's Health Care - You're going to get screwed

Socialized healthcare is just such a big target.

A good friend of mine a few weeks ago said his main argument against it is the historical argument: what programs has the United States government run successfully in the past that can serve as a model for the successful management of the entire healthcare system of the US?

It’s a good question.

I get echoes of “Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…?” in my head just thinking about it.

United States Senator Tom Coburn thinks it’s a very relevant question to, as he uses it to correct a lady who is asking for his support of socialized medicine in the US.

UPDATE: Neil from 4Simpsons says the health care bill does contain funding for abortion. His logic is the same we use to find black holes. If  you don’t find something you expected to find, there’s probably a good reason.

The More Things Change…

…the more they stay the same.

How command-economy solutions failed the free-market and extended the economic dip of the 1920’s – 1930’s into the Great Depression.

noname

And how far we’ve come today.

One question: They aren’t good at foreign policy, and they’ve been incapable of learning how to lead a national economy: What are Democrat’s good for again?

The Democrat party is apparently entirely represented (in the halls of power at least) by those incapable or unwilling to either read or learn from history, and are therefore doomed to repeat it. Can we stop them from dragging the rest of us through their own private hell?