Treaty of Versailles | The Holocaust Encyclopedia

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https://www.slideserve.com/mikasi/woodrow-wilson-and-the-treaty-of-versailles

Source: Treaty of Versailles | The Holocaust Encyclopedia

Contrary to popular belief, Germany had entered World War One only reluctantly, and as a result of its mutual-assistance pact with Austria-Hungary. When it became obvious that the Kaiserreich could not defeat the Allies – especially after the entry of the United States, with over a million fresh troops, and in light of the “November Revolution” that resulted in Bolshevik (Marxist / Communist) takeovers of several major German cities – its representatives sought to negotiate, in good faith, a treaty to end the war.

Those negotiations were intended to be conducted on the basis of Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points,” which “called for the victorious Allies to set unselfish peace terms with the vanquished Central Powers of World War I, including freedom of the seas, the restoration of territories conquered during the war and the right to national self-determination in such contentious regions as the Balkans.”

Those reasonable hopes did not take long to be dashed: Continue reading “Treaty of Versailles | The Holocaust Encyclopedia”

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Radicalized By Kavanaugh’s Fate | The American Conservative

Red Pill – Blue Pill
“You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”

“The Kavanaugh fight has been primarily a bitter contest among American elites. Kavanaugh, recall, is a Yale Law graduate, and a favorite of the Federalist Society. The men and women now being trained at Yale Law (and Harvard Law, and similar elite institutions) are going to be running the country. They and their allies in the elite media. This is hardly a controversial observation to make. What is now very clear — very clear — is that when they are in power, they will use it to crush people like me.”

Source: Radicalized By Kavanaugh’s Fate | The American Conservative

In which thoughtful conservative, author the The Benedict Option, and avowed “Never Trumper” Rod Dreher admits that he is among those being “red-pilled” by the insanity and absurdity of the anti-Kavanaugh witch-hunt:

“[Christine Blasey Ford] has been playing a game with the Senate Judiciary Committee, trying to dictate the terms of her testimony. Yesterday [September 25th], when the Republicans on the committee designated a female veteran sex crimes prosecutor to conduct their questioning for them, she hollered foul. You would think that someone interested in getting to the truth of the matter would welcome that kind of questioner. But no, Blasey Ford’s reaction gave away the game. She wants to be interrogated by older Republican men, so the focus isn’t on what she says, but the identity of her questioners. It was never about a traumatized victim trying to bring the truth out. It was always about destroying Brett Kavanaugh by any means necessary…

Again: this is not about getting at the truth. This Thursday event, from a left-wing perspective, is what we used to call a “show trial.” It is meant to illustrate a political verdict already reached…. If Amy Coney Barrett had been the nominee, the Left would be painting her as a gibbering religious fanatic bent on imposing Catholic sharia on America. This is as clear as clear can be now. There is no lie they will not tell, no smear they will not employ, to destroy Brett Kavanaugh. He is no longer, in their eyes, a human being, but a symbol of all they hate.

“I look at him, and what’s being done to him, and see my sons, and even my daughter. If they were nominated for a position like Kavanaugh’s, I would want them to have a fair hearing. I don’t think that’s possible any more in America, not for the kind of people identified by the cultural Left as the Enemy. And make no mistake, if my daughter grows up to be a believing Christian and a social conservative, she will be the Enemy, as sure as my sons will be. These cultural elites would eagerly destroy the character of my children, as well as myself and most of my friends, to pursue their political goals.”

He continues,

“The friend of mine who knows Kavanaugh personally has always been a Never Trump Republican. He too is the product of an Ivy League education, and is part of the American elite, broadly speaking. Based on our conversation last night, this process has changed him. It has radicalized him. It has red-pilled him. It’s doing the same thing to me.

“I have no more trust in or affection for Donald Trump or the Republican Party than I did before the Kavanaugh hearings. In fact, if I had to choose, I would rather have the Democrats running economic and foreign policy than the Republicans these days. But I have been driven by the liberal elites into believing that whatever their sins and failings, the Republicans are the only thing standing between me (and people like me) and the destruction that these highly ideologized left-wing elites would happily wreak on us, for the sake of their idea of Justice.

“I have been a registered Independent since 2008, and do not like in any way, shape, or form Donald Trump and the GOP. But after what has happened, and continues to happen, to Kavanaugh, I genuinely fear the Democratic Party and the elites — especially the academic and media elites — who guide it. I am hearing from conservatives like me who have been alienated from the GOP because of its own fecklessness, and because of Donald Trump, who have been red-pilled by the Kavanaugh persecution, and who now intend to vote Republican purely out of self-protection, for as long as we can manage it.”

The graphic above, like the “red-pill” meme, is taken from the 1999 film The Matrix. In the film, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill by rebel leader Morpheus (pictured), with the words of the caption. If nothing up to this point has accomplished it, it seems to me that the Kavanaugh hearings are offering that choice to many Americans, as they seem to have to Dreher and others:

A choice between comfortable illusions of a sunlit, rose-tinted Liberal utopia in which the buzzwords of the Left are dreamily realized, and everyone lives happily ever after in a secular paradise of “diversity,” “tolerance,” “multiculturalism,” and “equality” (all as defined by the Left, of course) – but with the shadow of the guillotine and the re-education camp looming behind the walls of the Matrix – or the grittier world of… well… reality. Of truth.

And the truth, unfortunately, is that the Democratic Party has been hijacked by the hard Left; they are in full SJW mode, and the issue is not truth – no matter how much they protest that it is – but power. This is how revolutions begin, folks: with attacks not only on traditional values, but on the very structures of society, of government, of jurisprudence. These are the neo-Jacobins, the neo-Bolsheviks, the neo-Red Guards.

As I have said before, if unsubstantiated allegations become the basis for destroying an individual’s personal and professional reputation, career, family – life – we are all at risk.

And as I have also said, more than once, as I watch the trajectory we seem to be on: I fear for my country.

How political correctness ate itself | UnHerd

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/gettyimages-999573838-2000x1333.jpg?w=1021&h=681

The consensus on political correctness was that it was a way of expressing things that everyone – or at least all the right people – took for granted. For progressives it was the same thing as good manners, an argument that was often presented in just those words…

Source: How political correctness ate itself – UnHerd

Worth a read.

It is said that revolutions always devour their own children. That does seem to be true, but understandably, their children resist being devoured, and the resultant thrashing about can cause a lot of mayhem, and often a lot of injury to innocent (or at least, not unduly culpable) bystanders.

The sooner political correctness thrashes itself into oblivion, the better, as far as I’m concerned! Then we can get on with simply being decent to each other, unless of course we have a good reason not to be. And in that case, we can be at enmity honestly, without the need to disguise it with PC cant, or to pretend that we are not, in fact, at enmity after all…

“Barack Obama’s return just reminds us how he fueled the distrust that led to Donald Trump” | James Bovard in USA Today

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Who cares if Obama belatedly cheers for transparency and accountability? He should admit that he made the government more dangerous at home and abroad.

Source: Barack Obama is back and showing us how he helped elect Donald Trump | USA Today Opinion – James Bovard

James Bovard’s short but detailed and meticulously-sourced essay should be a must-read in every high school and college political science class – and since that’s not going to happen, it deserves to be shared, forwarded, and otherwise spread as widely as possible. Doing my bit, here!

Bovard is no cheerleader for the current President, no rider of the “Trump Train” – he comments that “Americans should be alarmed at Trump’s power grabs” (in one of his few failures to cite-and-source, he gives no indication of what those are), and reminds us that “Obama is correct that Americans should be on guard against any ‘absolutism’ from the Trump administration.”

But he also reminds us that “Obama declared Friday that Americans are ‘supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them.’ But Trump won in 2016 in part because many Americans considered the federal government the biggest bully in the land.” And he cites example, after example, after example of how Obama either maintained or, in many cases, increased government power and intrusiveness, at the expense of transparency and freedom.

Here are a few of the examples that Bovard cites (sources linked in the op-ed itself, which I strongly encourage you to read):

  • the Transportation Security Administration became far more punitive and intrusive during Obama’s presidency
  • Obama expanded federal secrecy and prosecuted more journalists and whistleblowers than any previous administration
  • he campaigned in 2008 on a peace platform and then proceeded to bomb seven nations
  • he flip-flopped on illegal surveillance and unleashed the National Security Administration to target anyone “searching the web for suspicious stuff”
  • When Obama took office, the United States had the 20th-most-free press in the world; by 2016, it had fallen to 41st

And these are only some of the examples he cites – and, as I say, carefully sources. And after all this, Obama presumes to lecture us on Trump, or to present himself as some sort of moral leader? It’d be a joke, if it wasn’t so un-funny. The truth is, as Bovard accurately notes, “Nothing that Trump can do or say should be permitted to expunge Obama’s derelictions.”

I am in complete agreement! And as for Obama himself, he should do what nearly every former President has done, which is ride off into the sunset – or sit quietly on his porch, enjoying his substantial Presidential retirement income – and cease and desist his attempts to undermine a sitting President.

 


 

P.S. Needless to say, the Obamacrats in the public square were less enamored of Bovard’s conclusions. As he pointed out in a follow-up on his personal blog,

“I am chagrined that not everyone liked  yesterday’s USA Today oped, ‘Obama Fueled the Distrust that Led to Donald Trump.’ I expected the piece to spur thoughtful exchanges by folks with different perspectives.”

If so, I fear he was either hopelessly naive, or at least excessively optimistic. He continues,

“Alas, my hopes for a rebirth of civility have been mercilessly crushed. Here’s some responses generated via Twitter, email, and elsewhere online.”

https://i1.wp.com/jimbovard.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/JPB-USA-Today-Obama-collage-of-angry-responses-september-2018555.jpg

As I commented, both on his blog and on his Facebook page, I suspect that most of the above “respondents” (if one can even dignify them with such a title) failed to read past the headline. And if they did, they clearly failed to comprehend what they were reading – or, just as likely, flatly refused to do so, lest their preconceived notions be disturbed by facts.

[Bovard’s] op-ed piece is spot-on, and (as I mentioned above) should be required reading in every high school and college-level political science class in the nation.

If Democrats dislike Trump, they should reflect on the fact that they have only themselves to blame, by tolerating Obama and nominating Clinton.

But frankly, I doubt that most of today’s Democrats are capable of that level of reflection. Sad to say!

On cruelty, culture, and the Left

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Found on “the interwebz”:

The “liberal” / Leftist approach to animal cruelty:

Against foxhunting? “Good lad!”

Against badger-baiting? “Good lad!”

Against bullfighting, dog-fighting, cock-fighting? “Good lad!”

Against the mass slaughter of animals by having their throats cut until they choke on their own blood (e.g., halal slaughter)? “You racist b@$tard!!!”

Please note that I am not necessarily or fundamentally opposed to halal or kosher (the two are functionally identical) slaughter, per se, if it is done properly. It is supposed to be done with a single clean sweep of the knife, and if so, can be quite humane; unfortunately, it often is not.

But that’s not why I’m posting this. I’m posting it to draw attention to the irony and double-standard which seems so sadly typical of today’s Leftists. Or perhaps it always has been, and it’s just on more open display these days. In any case:

Why would they be so quick to defend halal slaughter, when they are equally quick to vehemently and even viscerally oppose the other activities mentioned above? Because “it’s part of their (e.g., Muslim) culture!”

Well, guess what? Foxhunting (and for that matter, badger-baiting) is part of British culture (and foxhunting is also part of traditional American culture, as well, since 1650, when Robert Brooke arrived in the then-proprietary colony of Maryland with his family – and his foxhounds).

The others are parts of Western culture as well. Whether all of them are equally savory parts of said culture is open to debate; what is not – to my mind – open to debate is the fact that today’s Leftist (cultural Marxist) is perfectly willing to defend just about any cultural practice (there have even been defenses of female genital mutilation) except his own. And that is something that I find very sad, and indeed appalling.

On “Silent Sam,” Massachusetts, and complicity

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There is a meme making the rounds to the effect that Massachusetts – of all places! – was the first colony to legalize slavery, doing so in 1641.

Well, guess what? It’s true. I’ve confirmed it from multiple reputable sources online (here is a link to the most concise one I’ve found; some of the following dates come from this timeline).

In addition, in 1643, the New England Confederation, a “military alliance of the English colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven,” adopted a fugitive slave law, meaning that an escaped slave, if found, would be returned to his or her master. And in 1650, Connecticut legalized slavery. Note: Virginia didn’t pass its fugitive slave law until 1657, although it did pass a law allowing blacks to hold slaves (!) in 1654.

In 1652, Massachusetts required all black and Indian (Native American) servants to receive military training, just like white citizens; but ten years later, in 1662, rescinded that decree, no longer allowing them training in arms. New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire passed similar laws restricting the bearing of arms by blacks, in that same year.

Also, the slave trade in North America (although they were originally indentured servants; lifelong servitude was not a thing in the early days) began with the launching of the first slave-carrying ship, the “Desire,” in 1636. Care to guess where she was built and launched? Again, Massachusetts.

Now, I’m not beating up on Massachusetts. I love the Bay State, its topography and climate, its quaint villages, its glorious Fall foliage, its delicious seafood, and its many and (mostly) positive contributions to our collective history, from Lexington and Concord to its intimate connection with the sea (did I mention seafood?).

But part of that seafaring tradition included the slave trade, part of the “Triangle Trade” (a.k.a. “Triangular Trade”) that linked the American colonies to Europe (especially Britain) and Africa in a network of raw materials, finished goods, and slave labor.

All of the American colonies, later States, were complicit in that trade, either directly, or by benefiting from slave labor in the production of raw materials such as cotton, tobacco, and sugar, among other products. And the fact that New England had abolished slavery in its own territories did not prevent it from profiting mightily from that still going on elsewhere.

On the subject of indenture and slavery, in 1640, a runaway African indentured servant, John Punch, was sentenced to lifelong servitude for the crime of running away. Note: that was a sentence, in punishment for a crime. Arbitrary enslavement did not begin until the case of John Casor (1655), who was ruled by a court to be enslaved for life to Anthony Johnson: ironically, Johnson was an African-born former indentured servant who had completed his term and set himself up as a tobacco farmer, with indentured servants – and now, a slave, the first “official” one – of his own.

Incidentally, only about 10% of enslaved Africans (mostly captured and sold to Europeans, or white Americans, by rival African tribes) ended up in North America, where, as indicated above, they originally became indentured servants, but were later enslaved; the vast majority went to Central or South America (primarily Brazil) or the Caribbean Islands, where they all became slaves (see here for more detailed figures).

Why am I mentioning these things? Because there is a tendency to treat Southern folks, here in the U.S. – those who seceded and formed the Confederacy, from 1861-1865 – as if they were uniquely culpable in the slave trade, and slavery in general. The truth is rather different.

The history of slavery itself is ancient almost beyond reckoning, and worldwide in scope; but the history of slavery in America is also highly complex and multifaceted: including both sub-Saharan Africans selling other Africans into slavery to Europeans (later white Americans), and free blacks here owning slaves, as well as considerable involvement by Northern interests, including after slavery had officially been abolished in New England.

My point in all of this? It just underlines the absurdity of treating the South, and particularly the old Confederacy, as somehow uniquely culpable in the issue and institution of slavery, which it clearly was not; and using this fallacy as an excuse to tear down monuments and other historic iconography. The most recent example of this iconoclastic fervor is the toppling of the “Silent Sam” monument at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – erected as a tribute to the more than 1,000 UNC students who fought, and particularly the 287 who died, in the War Between the States.

But Silent Sam is far from the only casualty in this war against history as expressed in monumental art: many other monuments have been attacked, damaged, defaced by graffiti, or broken down; and some have been removed, under color of law, by municipal authorities who ought to know better. The justification offered is that the South was fighting to protect slavery – a notion that is, at best, simplistic, and at worst, completely and tragically incorrect – an institution for which the Confederacy (so the argument goes) was uniquely culpable. The falsity of that notion is, I hope, amply demonstrated above.

If we are to eliminate every vestige of slavery in America, we will have no choice but to eliminate a lot of good, too. Great men can do terrible things, and flawed men can do great things. The complexity of humans is part of what makes us interesting. But we lose all of that – and impoverish both ourselves, and future generations – when we choose to obsessively mono-focus our attention on a single issue, such as slavery.

Should we ignore it, and pretend that it was of no consequence? No, of course not! It was and is (for it still exists, in parts of Africa and the Middle East, and human trafficking is a thing even here in the U.S.) a moral evil, and must be decried as such.

But judging people, events, and even whole regions solely on the basis of their connection with slavery narrows our focus, blinds our perception, and cripples our judgment. Not for nothing do serious academic historians consider “presentism” – the tendency to look at the past through the lens of current-day standards and sensibilities – to be dangerously misleading.

We would be better off, I think, if more people today heeded an aphorism my late mother often quoted:

“There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it ill-behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.”

Or as our Lord Jesus Christ once said, “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Rowan Atkinson on freedom of speech and “the New Intolerance”

Boris Johnson and Rowan Atkinson

“‘I am not intolerant,’ say many people; say many softly spoken, highly-educated, liberal-minded people: ‘I am only intolerant of intolerance.’ And people tend to nod sagely and say ‘Oh, wise words, wise words,’ and yet if you think about this supposedly inarguable statement for longer than five seconds, you realize that all it is advocating is the replacement of one kind of intolerance with another.”

Source: Rowan Atkinson At Reform Section 5 Parliamentary Reception | LYBIO.NET Discover New Reading Content.

Former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has come under fire for saying, among other things, that burkha-wearing Muslim women look like “letterboxes.” English actor Rowan Atkinson, CBE – perhaps best known here in the U.S. for his role as “Mr. Bean” – is among those defending him.

In this context, it is worth noting Mr. Atkinson’s earlier comments on freedom of speech, one of the best defenses of that right I have seen. The full transcript is at the link above, but here are what I consider key excerpts:

“[A] culture… has taken hold of the programmes of successive governments that, with the reasonable and well-intended ambition to contain obnoxious elements in society, has created a society of an extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature. That is what you might call The New Intolerance, a new but intense desire to gag uncomfortable voices of dissent.

“‘I am not intolerant’, say many people; say many softly spoken, highly-educated, liberal-minded people: ‘I am only intolerant of intolerance’. And people tend to nod sagely and say ‘Oh, Wise words, wise words’ and yet if you think about this supposedly inarguable statement for longer than five seconds, you realize that all it is advocating is the replacement of one kind of intolerance with another. Which to me doesn’t represent any kind of progress at all.

“Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people: they are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with, preferably outside the legal process. For me, the best way to increase society’s resistance to insulting or offensive speech is to allow a lot more of it. As with childhood diseases, you can better resist those germs to which you have been exposed.

“We need to build our immunity to taking offence, so that we can deal with the issues that perfectly justified criticism can raise. Our priority should be to deal with the message, not the messenger. As President Obama said in an address to the United Nations a month or so ago: ‘…laudable efforts to restrict [hateful] speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech’ – and that is the essence of my thesis; more speech.

“If we want a robust society, we need more robust dialogue and that must include the right to insult or to offend. As Lord Dear says, the freedom to be inoffensive is no freedom at all.”

Precisely so. Liberals – authentic, classical Liberals, not the illiberal Leftists one sees on display so prominently today – used to “get” that. “If only inoffensive speech is free, no speech is free,” they often said, and rightly so. “The right to freedom of speech must extend to unpopular speech.” Or in the words often attributed (possibly incorrectly) to Voltaire, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Unfortunately, it seems that – while there may have been, and may continue to be – those who actually believed that, for too many on the Left, that now seems, in retrospect, to have been a tactic to open a space for their ideologies in the national dialogue, and now that they have achieved a certain dominance, they want to repress all speech with which they themselves do not agree.

Either we have freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the (U.S.) Constitution, or we do not; if we do, then it must certainly include the freedom to oppose the ideological orthodoxies of the Left! But like so many others, supposed “liberals” only actually like freedom when it suits them. Shutting down opinions they find uncongenial is not only permissible, in their worldview, but laudable.

That viewpoint may be described in may ways, but “liberal,” or tending toward freedom, are not among those way!