The 100th Anniversary of the Great State Crime

AKA World War I


World War I Pro-Censorship Poster
Public Domain

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the four-year bloody nightmare that claimed 16 million lives — 7 million of them noncombatants — and wounded over 20 million people.

That would have been bad enough, but the conflict was merely Act One in a much bigger war. The "peace" settlement vindictively branded Germany uniquely culpable and imposed border adjustments that made Act Two a virtual certainty. The so-called Second World War, which began after the 21-year intermission from 1918 to 1939, claimed at least 60 million lives, at least 19 million of which were noncombatants.

Act Two culminated in President Harry Truman's two gratuitous atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the 69th anniversaries of which are also observed this week. As has often been pointed out, without World War I (and especially Woodrow Wilson's entry into it in 1917), there would have been no World War II — nor any of the other major consequences that inflicted so much death and mayhem to the 20th century and beyond: among them the Bolshevik Revolution, which brought Lenin and then Stalin to power; Hitler's rise in Germany; the Holocaust; China's fall to communism and Mao Zedong; and the Cold War. (For an example of how the world still suffers the consequences of the Act One, see my "The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperial Fruit.")

With so much having been written in the last century, what's left to be said about the "Great War" at this late date? I think what gets overlooked is that the war is the clearest possible lesson about the omnipresent danger of government power. Governments — politicians and monarchs — went to war, some perhaps more reluctantly than others. All shared responsibility for the carnage and devastation. (Historians will debate the relative shares of responsibility forever.)

Could the men responsible for the war have wrought anything like the horrors they inflicted had they not controlled a state apparatus — an army, a navy, a compulsory revenue-collection agency, and a bureaucracy to conscript (enslave) the nation's young males? (The draft was fittingly called the blood-tax.) It wasn't just the European state system that is implicated. Three years into the conflict, a purported constitutionally limited republic — the United States — joined the orgy of violence and determined the tragic outcome. That the Great War brought to an end the halting, imperfect journey toward genuine liberalism merely compounded the catastrophe.

This was no noble war, not by a long shot. It was a war driven by imperial rivalries (Germany was the relatively new player in the empire game); balance-of-power politics; the alliance system, which hid obligations to go to war from the people who would pay the butcher's bill; petty, vainglorious rulers; and nationalism, that pernicious invention of ambitious rulers. "It is nationalism which engenders nations, and not the other way round," Ernst Gellner wrote in Nations and Nationalism.

The Great War was a struggle for political aggrandizement, territory, domination, and economic advantage. The politicians' solemn declarations to the contrary notwithstanding, it had nothing to do with democracy, self-determination, or a wish to "end war," that marvelous means to national greatness, masculinity, and enforced collectivization. (Collectivist pacifists like William James lied those features, but hoped for a "moral equivalent of war.")

Moreover and most disturbingly, the war demonstrated how easily populations can be incited to eagerly shelve their normal lives, leave their homes and loved ones, and lunge for the throat of the Other, or die trying. (The Left was stunned that average people put nation before class. This revelation drove Mussolini from the universalist totalitarian Left, Marxism, to the nationalist totalitarian Right, fascism.) Dehumanization of the enemy plumbed sickening depths. The idiotic willingness to take sadistic orders in the prosecution of the futile and lethal insanity of trench warfare hardly complimented a generation of young European men. (The hope engendered by the spontaneous Christmas truce was short-lived.)

But as we've seen from America's experience in 1917 and beyond, this was not unique to Europeans. What induces young people and their elders to believe politicians who suggest that the noblest thing is to die for your country (meaning the government)?

In this connection I always think of the words of Paddy Chayefsky wrote for his protagonist Charlie Madison (James Garner) in the movie The Americanization of Emily, spoken to a woman who preferred to pretend that war had not taken her husband and son:

I don't trust people who make bitter reflections about war, Mrs. Barham. It's always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a Hell it is. And it's always the widows who lead the Memorial Day parades.… We shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on ministers and generals or warmongering imperialists or all the other banal bogies. It's the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers; the rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widows' weeds like nuns and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices.… Maybe ministers and generals blunder us into wars, Mrs. Barham, the least the rest of us can do is to resist honoring the institution.

Madison goes on to say that since war brings out the best in the people in combat — bravery and all — it's "cowardice that will save the world."

War isn't hell at all. It's man at his best; the highest morality he's capable of.… It's not war that's insane, you see. It's the morality of it. It's not greed or ambition that makes war: it's goodness. Wars are always fought for the best of reasons, for liberation or manifest destiny, always against tyranny and in the interest of humanity. So far this war, we've managed to butcher some ten million humans in the interest of humanity. Next war it seems we'll have to destroy all of man in order to preserve his damn dignity. It's not war that's unnatural to us; it's virtue. As long as valor remains a virtue, we shall have soldiers. So, I preach cowardice. Through cowardice we shall all be saved.

Another source of insight about war, the Great War in particular, is Paul Fussell, who dedicated himself to examining "some of the literary means by which [the war] has been remembered, conventionalized, and mythologized." War changes people and societies, so Fussell looked closely at

the way the dynamics and iconography of the Great War have proved crucial political, rhetorical, and artistic determinants on subsequent life. At the same time the war was relying on inherited myth, it was generating new myth, and that myth is part of the fiber of our own lives.

(See his The Great War and Modern Memory as well as Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War.)

In The Great War and Modern Memory, Fussell wrote,

Every war is ironic because every war is worse than expected. Every war constitutes an irony of situation because its means are so melodramatically disproportionate to its presumed ends. In the Great War eight million people were destroyed because two persons, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his Consort, had been shot.… [T]he Great War was more ironic than any before or since. It was a hideous embarrassment to the prevailing Meliorist myth which had dominated the public consciousness for a century. It reversed the Idea of Progress.

Fussell was fascinated by war's capacity to create absurd juxtapositions: one moment a British soldier quietly enjoys his tea and biscuits in a trench in France; in the next his skull is blown open by a German shell and the human debris injures his friend nearby. Fussell's virtue is in demythologizing "good" wars, showing that, regardless of what patriotic poets and novelists may say, there is no glamour, no romance, no redemption in the whole bloody business.

Everyone knew what Glory was, and what Honor meant. It was not until eleven years after the war that Hemingway could declare in A Farewell to Arms that "abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates."

I don't like it when the Great War is described deterministically. The war was not really caused by the Serbian plot in which Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sofie, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but coveted by Serbia. The rulers of Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Russia, Germany, France, and Great Britain did not have to do what they subsequently did — the ultimatums, the mobilizations, the honoring of secret alliances. At every stage, fallible persons operating under perverse incentives (they'd never be on the front lines) made choices — poor choices with respect to most people. War was never inevitable. It was a product of human agency.

The world should keep this in mind as the politicians make choices today with respect to mythologized Ukraine and demonized Russia. This time the great powers have nuclear weapons. Who can be confident that these similarly flawed "leaders" learned anything from the Great War?

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. Deep dish pizza…

  2. The Left was stunned that average people put nation before class. This revelation drove Mussolini from the universalist totalitarian Left, Marxism, to the nationalist totalitarian Right Left, fascism.


    1. If you believe in more than one axis of political viewpoints, then totalitarianism isn’t really leftist or rightist — certainly, it’s not exclusively leftist or rightist.

      But we’ve got a thoroughly fucked up political culture that expects totalitarian collectivism perceived to comr from the left to be something which we’re supposed to make excuses for and if you suggest otherwise, you’t not being part of polite society. Meanehile, everybody knows that totalitarian collectivism from the right is irredeemably wicked, and how dare anybody make the same excuses that are made for its left-based counterpart!

      1. The fallacy is in calling fascism a rightwing or conservative philosophy when in reality it is applied socialism.

        One of the primary fallacies of orthodox socialism is that class trumps other tribe in human self identification. That fallacy is rejected in fascism.

        1. fascism is directly in opposition to socialism. It advocates strong private ownership with government working hand in hand with private industry to promote absolute nationalism. Very much in common with crony capitalism, like in the USA today.

          1. It advocates strong private ownership

            Bullshit. Strong private ownership means that a property owner is free to do as they please with their property. Fascism is directly in opposition to that.

            I present the Nazi Party Platform

            Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
            In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
            We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
            We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
            We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
            We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
            We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

            1. Nazi propaganda said many different, contradictory things depending on the day and audience.

              Hitler: “I absolutely insist on protecting private property… we must encourage private initiative”

              Hitler also believed that individuals within a nation battled with each other for survival, and that such ruthless competition was good for the health of the nation, because it promoted “superior individuals” to higher positions in society. So Hitler was actually a closet Libertarian.

              1. Citation needed.

              2. The core of libertarianism is the NAP. Exactly how did Hitler follow that?

        2. Fascism is *national* socialism.

    2. Fascism is leftwing, not rightwing. It is anti-clerical, anti-tradition, anti-family. It is totalitarian and revolutionary. There is literally nothing about it that is rightwing.

      1. You can put down anti-egalitarianism as right-wing.

        1. You can put down anti-egalitarianism as right-wing.

          Right but fascism is not anti-egalitarian. Within the set of a national group, it seeks to tear down class barriers and redistribute wealth.

          1. The only difference between socialism and fascism is the focus on nationalism as opposed to internationalism.

            Which is especially ironic since every communist country has become nationalistic out of necessity.

      2. Two words…

        Nolan chart. Fascism is neither left or right. It’s down.

        1. It depends on how you define the terms. Fascism is “left” in the sense that it embraces the total state and collective responsibility. Both fascism and leftism believe that all of society belongs to the state and that people can be judged guilty of crimes collectively. They only differ in two ways; leftists believe that people should be judged collectively by their political or economic class while fascists believe that they should be judged by their race, and leftists believe in one world order while fascists believe in nationalism.

          How significant those differences are depends on the person considering the issue. For me at least, they are utterly insignificant and fascism and leftism are just two sides of the same evil coin of collectivism. More importantly, there really are not any sharp lines anymore. After the fall of communism, leftists have embraced a toxic mixture of both ideology. The modern American leftist can be nationalist (provided his team is in charge) and make collective judgements based on race (provided they are judging American white people). The leftist rants about “bitter clingers” and “gun owners” and the white working class in general read just like the old fascist rants about Jews.

            1. I have seen that before. I just don’t think it means very much. The reality is that fascism and leftism are just different and equally virulent strains of the same evil; collectivism.

              1. It means EVERYTHING from a libertarian perspective. It’s a plot of economic freedom vs personal freedom. It explains political affiliations PERFECTLY.

                Here it is with more readily apparent axis, perhaps it will make more sense.

                1. Right the Nolan chart is great. But there are certain characteristics which I can safely say are left or right.

                  For example, being anti-religion is a leftwing trait. A left libertarian will simply refrain from attending church, and/or persuade others in a non coercive fashion not to believe or support religious institutions. A left democrat might support minor restrictions on religious liberty, such as we see in the US today. A left totalitarian will execute priests, confiscate church property, and burn religious texts.

                  What I’m saying is that both peaceful action and great evil can stem from the same basic impulse.

                  1. I disagree with your premise that anti-religious belief is a left trait. There are plenty of lefty Catlicks (for instance). There are religious folks in all four corners and being religious has little to do with your stance of liberty.

                    1. In your example, the leftists who “claim” to be liberal, who want to stop you from exercising your religious rights, are not true liberals at all. A true liberal wouldn’t care. Those people are actually scoring closer to (0,0) that to (0,100). IOW, they are actually totalitarian/marxist/socialist.

                    2. Fascism is just as anti-religion as Communism. Fascism is a totalitarian ideology. It doesn’t tolerate institutions like religion existing outside of the state.

                    3. You’ve misunderstood me. I did not say that all leftists are anti-religious. I said that being anti-religious is a trait of the left, broadly speaking.

                      You will not find many self identified right wingers who are anti-religion. It’s simply not a tribal trait for them.

                  2. That’s a narrow view of what religion is. For many, egalitarianism itself is a religion, ‘science’ is a religion, ‘protecting earth’ is a religion.

                    This view might be a bit expansive, but is also more accurate to describe a belief system pursued with zeal and devotion.

                2. There is no economic freedom under Fascism Fransisco. It is not collective ownership sure. But there is more to economic freedom than private property. Do you seriously contend that even places like Franco’s Spain had “economic freedom” in any real sense.

                  The graph is meaningless and entirely misses the point.

                  1. The point, John, is that totalitarianism, fascism and marxism are the same thing. (You do know how to read a graph, right?) They all score very low on economic freedom AND on social freedom…very near (0,0) on the plot.

                    Arguing if they are slightly more left or slightly more right is pointless. They are all MOSTLY totalitarian.

                    1. Then we agree Francisco. That has been my point all along. They both are two sides of the same hideous coin.

              2. wrong. Fanatic nationalism, exceptionalism, imperialism, along with strong government backing of corporations are decidedly right wing ideals.

                Interesting how there is such a movement to redefine fascism from a right wing ideal to a left one.

                1. Interesting how some people cannot conceive that there may be more to politics than left and right.

              3. The chart illustrates a model of how people think about politics in two continua.

                However, in practice, there is only one one continuum because political theories cannot be implemented in an imaginary world. The state cannot exert collectivist economic control without social control (i.e., prohibitions against any sort of individualism that conflicts with economic goals.) Neither can it exert collectivist social control without economic control (i.e., carrot and stick incentives.)

        2. No, fascism was explicitly Marxist. Explicitly – they said Marx was great and was their ideological inspiration. All of them.

          So nah.

          1. that is totally incorrect.

      3. Fascism takes elements from both the left and right, but mostly the right. There is certainly a strong trend to redefine it as left wing to promote the anti-Obama agenda.

        It is comical to hear the low information people call Obama Marxist, communist, fascist and socialist all in one breath. But that is what they tell them to say on Faux News.

        1. And who told us fascism was of the right? Oh yeah, stalin.

        2. “Left” and “right” are vague, even ambiguous, words when used to describe political theories and practice.

          What do “left” and “right” mean when you use these words?

          For example, if a political commentator were lambast “the money pigs of capitalist democracy” by saying,

          “Money has made slaves of us. Money is the curse of mankind. It smothers the seed of everything great and good. Every penny is sticky with sweat and blood”

          would that be a critique of capitalism from the left or the right?

          Bonus question: Who said the following?

          “The worker in a capitalist state?and that is his deepest misfortune?is no longer a living human being, a creator, a maker. He has become a machine. A number, a cog in the machine without sense or understanding. He is alienated from what he produces.”

          Who else wrote extensively about alienation?

    3. The Left was stunned that average people put nation before class.

      So stunned that they adopted empowering and aggrandizing “the nation” as their main platform for 100+ years.

  3. “the nationalist totalitarian Right, fascism”

    Sheldon should read the link he made. Then he would not put such an idiotic phrase in print.

  4. Somebody is apparently mad his last post didn’t get enough comments.

    1. It is Sunday.

      I don’t think anger has anything to do with it.

      Lots of stuff gets passed by during the week simply because there is so much of it. Sunday is when reason gives stuff that might have been missed a second chance.

  5. The war was not really caused by the Serbian plot in which Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria…

    You know who else was of Austria?

    1. Johann Strauss?

    2. Tony Abbot?

      1. I need a ruling on answering your own Godwin.

        1. I’ll allow it!

    3. Paul hogan?

    4. Austrian School of Economics?

    5. Arnold Braunschweiger?

    6. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

  6. RussianPrimeMinister,

    I’ve belatedly replied to your religious questions from yesterday. Sorry for the delay. Let me know if you want to talk some more 🙂


    1. I read them. And the reason I brought it up here, with you, is because I have spoken with priests, as well as the one catholic friend I have and have never gotten an answer I’ve been satisfied with.

      The commentariat here is. . .more knowledgeable than I am. I have a few very deeply held beliefs as well as a pretty clear view of the world, but you guys sometimes just blow me away. So I figured I’d come here and see if something more satisfying could be had.

      The whole reason it came up in the first place was because of the link (somebody here) provided in the comments about the satanic black mass going on (in fuck all America).

      I actually felt that, had it been held here, I might have attended. Not for the religious satisfaction, of course, but because I find a certain interest in Lucifer. Somebody willing to stand up and tell an all powerful figure with complete control over his life that he can fuck off and whatever he did to him, it would be better than living under his thumb appeals to me.

      I know that’s not how it actually went down, but I’ve romanticised it a bit in my mind. The fact is that I see God as a figure of malevolence. I should not EVER have to beg his mercy to be treated as if I were his child. If he’s willing to torture me forever simply because I won’t cowtow to his will, then so fucking be it.

      But then, I’m an anarchist at heart. Seems he made me that way.

    2. As context, let me tell you a story about myself.

      When I was young, I came up with a theory about God. I entitled it Time Traveling Space Jesus. And no, it isn’t as blasphemous as it sounds. It went something like this:

      God is, on balance of probability, real.

      If God is real, then God exists. Not in a vague high school physics kind of way, but REALLY, like you or I exist.

      We understand that there are (potentially) particles in the universe that function outside of our perception of time and space. Particles that can exist in one place but in multiple times, and particles that can transcend the speed of light.

      God could be created of particles such as this. If that were the case, God could potentially have taken life, in it’s myriad forms, and plucked them from where they naturally evolved over trillions of years and brought them here, for reasons unknown.

      If this is the case, then once again we come to the idea that God may have benevolent or malevolent reasons for doing so, but there is no clear cut way to actually KNOW that, because such a being, whether I’m correct or not, would be completely unknowable.

      1. I know that this sounds a bit crazy, but you can see how, for a young man, this theory (however quack you may think it is) might take the shine off of the idea of God. Were God to actually be a creature, rather than this spiritual all-father, then there is no more reason to accept god than there is to accept your local mayor.

        I have never respected my own father. He was one of the worst parents imaginable. That has a psychological bearing on this, to be sure, but my point in mentioning it is that if I have no reason at all to respect my own father, who can quite clearly be said to have a hand in my creation, then why should I respect this other arbitrary creature that is said to have created me?

        If it comes down to it, I simply refuse to accept authority from someone willing to punish and destroy me for the crime of simply not abjectly worshipping them and do everything they want me to do all of the time.

        My libertarian views, now that I think of it, may have begun developing at that stage of my life.

        1. There are some people who have different ideas of what Hell is. It could be that your thoughts on what Hell is that make you resist God.

          As a youngster in Baptist Church I was taught that it is a literal place of fire and eternal suffering.

          As a man who has read the Bible I believe that Hell is simply an instantanious moment of understanding that God truly exists and that you’re existance is going to end forever while those who chose to believe will remain in the presense of God eternally. Hell is knowing that you forfieted the opportunity to exist in bliss for eternity and that your existance as a consious being is to be snuffed out.

          Good luck to you. Read the Bible for yourself. Reading it over and over will help you understand without someone else’s interpretation clouding your understanding.

          1. I’ve read the bible. Once. The damn book is full to bursting with stories about how men are stupid and make mistakes, and how belief in god and begging his forgiveness is the path to correct living and self-righteousness.

            It isn’t that I’m looking for another opinion because I can’t decide upon my own.

            I’m looking for an opinion that will sway me because I’m on the next hill over from you, and I can see that peaceful glittering hill called religious belief, and I want to go there. But I am the kind of person who will never, EVER beg for it. My idea of what is right isn’t Gods idea of what is right. and I won’t compromise who I am for that sense of peace and place in the universe.

            I want to find that one person in all the world who might actually have the answer to why I should. Or maybe helps me understand God in a way that makes me feel as if he isn’t the Evil Overlord I feel that he is.

            That’s why I came here. I’m not looking for condemnation. I’m looking to the commentariat for knowledge and expertise because you guys usually seem to have very well thought out positions and a clear and crisp understanding of your own beleifs.

            1. Wow, that is very heavy. I am, as I said, flattered that you would share this with people at H&R and ask me/us about your questions.

              I wish that I were in the first rank of Catholic apologists, or that my spiritual life was worthy of my own pretensions, but you chose to ask people at H&R, so let me have a crack at responding.

              I am very sorry to hear about your father, since that would have been a great opportunity for him to model divine love, and to the extent he didn’t , he’s going to alienate his kids from God. My own father was an atheist, and was flawed, but he always let me know he loved me and had high expectations of me, which often I didn’t achieve.

              1. The Christian scheme has a God who goes out of His way to love his creations, though it also teaches that men chose evil and deliberately set themselves apart from God. So God, through the Incarnation of Christ, comes down to close the gap between humans and Himself.

                An evil God wouldn’t have done this, but would have left us to stew in our own misery, since we cannot bridge the barrier we’ve created for ourselves.

                And the great defender of orthodoxy, St. Athanasius, said God became man (the Incarnation) so *man could become God.* This union with God in love doesn’t sound to me like slavery or fawning submission.

                1. Speaking of the Catechism, I would certainly recommend it, it has some great stuff, and it’s available free at, of course, the Vatican Web site –


                  Speaking of the Vatican, here is Pope Francis on atheists and how they could get to heaven (I know you’re not an atheist, but this would apply to non-Christians in many circumstances) – the key is sincerely seeking God, which of course includes doing good. If there’s something keeping you from God, but you’re still searching and working for the good.

                  “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.””


                  1. The Catechism starts off with –

                    “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.”

                    There would be no reason to serve an evil God, no matter how powerful! So that gets to the key question.

                    To test whether God is evil, why not hang with some of His purported followers – preferably at some do-gooder organization where they can exhibit themselves to best advantage.

                    1. I’m elsewhere this afternoon, but God isn’t – and as for me, you can continue you conversation with me, and you’re welcome to. I’m certainly not worthy to be the one answering these questions, but since you asked I will do what I can, God willing.

                    2. Nobody, ever, in all my searchings has ever mentioned or brought up the idea that someone good can get into heaven simply by being good and wanting to come closer to God.

                      That’s the damndest thing I’ve ever heard, actually. As I brought up with that psychopath Russell Crawford, I’m always trying, and sometimes failing, to be a good person and help people as best I can.

                      If God is willing to let me be me, and accept me when all is said and done, then maybe that’s not so bad.

                      You’ve given me more food for thought than every priest (and I am not lying when I say it’s been about a dozen. I’ve attended every church around my area in my teenage years, searching for answers) ever did.


                    3. God bless you, and I actually appreciate the opportunity to organize some thoughts.

                      And I think the idea the Pope was getting at was God wants us to be our *best* self – what we were created for – and that seeking God includes seeking that best self through virtue. Of course, we say that the *fullness* of God’s revelation subsists in the Catholic Church, but we also say that, if you’ll pardon a bit of a cliche, even if you don’t believe in God, He believes in you.

                      I would repeat, you might try looking at some of your local religious do-gooder organizations – I need to do more of that myself – because when I feel I’m helping others I focus less on my own sorrows.

                      It is humbling that I could have said something which another person found consoling – I sincerely believe it was no merit of mine.

            2. That is why I wrote about Hell and it’s different meaning to some. You had mentioned that it made you angry to think that God punished non believers in a place of torment.

              It isn’t necessary to beg. Simply ask. God has a gift and is willing to share it with those who simply ask for it. No begging necessary.

              Keep reading. The New Testament is the foundation for almost all of my religious belief. Maybe it will help you as well. I believe that if you keep seeking you will one day find the answer to your question. Good luck to you.

  7. Sounds like one heck of a plan dude.


  8. The biggest irony of WWI: the German’s “September Program” of 1914 was supposedly a plan to create an economic and customs union in continental Europe, dominated by Germany as the continent’s strongest economy. Allied historians have seized on this as “proof” of Germany’s nefarious intentions, thereby justifying the 1914-1918 slaughter.

    So allegedly for that purpose, we fought a bloody world war, a second bloody world war, and then divided Germany during the Cold War, in addition to all the horrors that Sheldon listed in his article. Yet after all that bloodshed, what do we have today? Economic and customs union in Europe, dominated by Germany as the continent’s strongest economy. All that horror to arrive at the very state of affairs we were supposedly trying to prevent.

    1. According to Wikipedia, the proposed plan was nothing like you describe, had nothing in common with the current EU. It was strictly a plan for the winner to take land and colonies from the losers. An absolutely ordinary winner-takes-land discussion.

    2. England joining the war was in many ways even more stupid than the US joining the war. England had been an ally of Germany for most of the second half of the 19th Century. The only reason England went to war was because they didn’t want one power to dominate the continent. The problem with the balance of power theory of English diplomacy was that it was obsolete. There wasn’t going to be a balance of power no matter what England did. After Napoleon, France was no longer a world power. It continued to pretend to be one and England went along, but it wasn’t true. France was never going to balance German power on the continent. England went bankrupt and threw away its status as a super power trying to prop up the dead body of Imperial France to counter balance Germany. England should have left France under the German boot and used its naval power and economy to remain free of German domination. That would have been hard, but it beats what they did.

      1. The British entering the war was, I think, predicated on a belief that the Russians would be a useful ally that would actually threaten the German strategic center. This turned out to be untrue.

        1. Russia was no longer a world power either. Yes, British believed that it was possible to maintain a balance of power on the continent like it had done in the 18th Century. This was an entirely false hope since the old powers of Europe, Austria, France, and Russia were no longer world powers and had no hope of counter balancing Germany. The 20th Century was going to be a German Century in Europe. All England did was destroy itself and make the 20th Century in Europe an American Century rather than a German one

        2. Looking at the map, I can see their predicament.
          What were they going to do? Build a bigger navy?
          Maintain a huge peacetime army?

      2. We had an ocean between us. The Brits didn’t have that luxury.

      3. I think you are neglecting English colonial interests in Africa and the Middle East.

        England did not sit out in the sky looking down at the European playing board and made a decision to enter WW1…with its colonies it was already up to its neck in it.

  9. I am surprised that Sheldon has not also pointed out that today is the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

  10. Could they please stop letting Sheldon write about history without adult supervision? My eyes can’t take this kind of stupid.

    First, the populations of Europe willingly went to war in 1914. The idea that they were forced to war against their will by evil governments is under graduate coffee house horse dung. It is the kind of thing that people like Sheldon who don’t know much say to try to sound intelligent. If Sheldon would bother to read something besides his collection of vintage copies of The Nation, he would understand that the war was widely popular when it started, was believed to by both sides to be inevitable, quick and a just settling of issues. This was especially true of the young. Never has a generation gone to its deaths deliriously happy in the way the lost generation of 1914 did. Europe in 1914 was not America in 1917. At first, there was no need for sedition acts or any compulsion to go to war. The populations wanted it. The “New Army” of 1916 England sent to France was essentially a volunteer army. Everyone went down and signed up in the fall of 1914 looking for adventure and a chance to go abroad. The draft and the sedition laws and the ruthless repression of dissent all came later after the war dragged on and turned out to be a nightmare.

    1. Lastly, while the governments of 1914 were hardly Democratic by modern standards, they were outside of Russia small and powerless compared to our modern democratic behemoths. The world in 1914 was an amazingly free place in many ways. Most countries had no income tax. There were very few if any restraints on trade or contracts. You could travel with as much cash as you wanted. Your bank records were secret. You didn’t need a VISA to enter foreign countries. You were free to immigrate and work where you liked. There were very few drug laws. There was no FDA or regulation of medicine. Since those are all economic freedoms and Sheldon is the worst sort of Cosmotarian who thinks freedom begins and ends with sodomy, it is not surprising he thinks 1914 was a hellish government controlled nightmare.

  11. As bad as all that has happened that can be traced to WW1, one can’t really claim this is worse than what might have happened absent that particular assassination. Human nature and all. Maybe a buildup of suspicions that lasted until 1955 would have unleashed a nuclear World War.

    1. Perhaps. But if they could have defused the situation in 1914, suspicions would have cooled down over time. The US and USSR fought a cold war that never went hot. Maybe the European powers could have too.

      The root cause of the war was in my opinion German insecurity and pessimism. The Germans in many ways owned the world in 1913. They had the largest and best trained army in the world. They had the most technically advanced and best economy in Europe. But they convinced themselves they were doomed and that eventually France and Russia would turn them into vassals if they didn’t act then when they still had the power to stop it.

      1. Germany had colony envy, failing to see them for the expensive boondoggles that they were.

        1. This. The Germans got it in their head that they should start dominating the world at a time when that would be extremely likely to lead to a large war.

  12. The Western left became completely deranged (ok they may well have been previously) by the first World War and it’s revelation that tribality always trumps class among humans.

    1. It was already deranged. The “anarchists” as they were called were leftists. Leftist political violence started long before 1917. All World War I did was give them a chance to act and worse gave them a state to model themselves on in German War Socialism.

      1. You mean American War Socialism, right?

        Wilson was, in so many ways, a horrible human being.

        1. German War Socialism was even worse and where Wilson got his ideas. And yes, Wilson was a horrible human being.

          1. No, the American Left had the ideas already. They were just waiting for an excuse to use them.

  13. Jesus Gawker is stupid.


    Ap that tells you where crime ridden neighborhoods are is “racist”. The author claims to have grown up in Washington DC. What do you want to bet that douchebag never went east of Rock Creek Park until it started to gentrify and has never been to SE in his life? He wouldn’t last ten minutes in a tough neighborhood but thinks its “racist” for other people to avoid them.

    1. Does he think it would be less racist for everyone to just carry a gun? I mean, you don’t have to avoid ANY neighborhood if you’re packing an M&P 40…

      1. Tell that to the Kurds in Kirkuk.

    2. That is racist John.

      You might need to take a few racism classes at your friendly government sponsored neighborhood re-education camp.

      High crime area is rightwinz code for black ghetto.

  14. By the way, the mobile version of H&R does not let you write comments in the Samsung 4. You have to change to the desktop version to do that.

    1. RIGHT!?!?!?!?

    2. THANK you. I hadn’t thought to try the desktop version.

  15. So let’s just all agree to stop having governments. Who wants to go first?

    And we can’t have any. Not a one. Because libertarian dumbfucks will just blame any problem that results from global anarchy on that one remaining government.

    1. Awwwwww, did someone make fun of your blessed state again? Poor baby.

    2. So, Tony, do you mind if I ask you a question?

      Go fuck yourself.

      Oops, sorry, that was a statement. My mistake. Let me try again.

      Go fuck yourself?

      Yep. Better.

    3. libertarians are not anarchists.

      Government is like a big mean dog you keep chained up in your yard to protect your property.

      According to idiot Marxists like you no one should ever complain or criticize when that dog gets off its leash and kills a school yard full of children…in fact you would argue we are better off that it stays unchained.

  16. Of all the comments about empires and the major western players in WWI, I find it interesting that no one is mentioning the involvement of the Ottoman Empire in WWI and how they became involved. Not to mention how that empire was systematically picked apart by the British and the French, Russian involvement in the plan prior to the Bolshevik revolution, and the resulting shit storm that is the middle east today.

    I did a fair bit of reading on the subject at one point. It seems to me that imperialist projection and desire for profit (they found oil in Mosul) have caused a lot more damage to the world that people are willing to admit in the west.

    I am not taking sides for any of the involved parties in WWI. But I will say that politicians are far too willing to send people to die for noble ideas (protecting liberty and freedom) that are often just fronts for old world money and profits.

    Sad really. And that is why I have a problem with so called authority.

    1. The Ottoman Empire sucks dick…but they would be better then ISIS.

  17. “Act Two culminated in President Harry Truman’s two gratuitous atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

    You can always count on Sheldon to get some Hate America First line into every article.

    Yes, the bombing was “gratuitous”, because the Japanese who were taking and inflicting huge losses in the island hopping campaign, had seen the light and had converted into French Surrender Monkeys, and were just waiting to be asked nicely to put down their weapons.

    If Truman had just sent them some wine and brie, it all would have been over without firing another shot.

    But Truman “gratuitously” wanted to give Emperor a few parting kicks in nads, having already triumphed over him in their power struggle in the High Council of the Reptilian Elite.

    1. Sheldon would rather have had 1 million American GI’s dead in an invasion of Japan, along with potentially 20 more million dead Japanese in same invasion.

      The Japanese weren’t kidding when they said they were ready for “100 million souls dying at once for the Emperor”.

      1. Why would we have needed to invade Japan?

  18. As has often been pointed out, without World War I (and especially Woodrow Wilson’s entry into it in 1917), there would have been no World War II ? nor any of the other major consequences that inflicted so much death and mayhem to the 20th century and beyond: among them the Bolshevik Revolution, which brought Lenin and then Stalin to power; Hitler’s rise in Germany; the Holocaust; China’s fall to communism and Mao Zedong; and the Cold War.

    Ugh, this is a stupid claim that is utterly impossible to verify. History is history. It happened for the reasons it happened… yet it could have happened the exact same way for other reasons.

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