RANDOM THOUGHTS, MOSTLY ON BOMBING

BOMBING: IS THERE ANY AMERICAN CONSCIENCE AT ALL? Every year in August, someone is moved by the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to say this or that about the morality of the first – and only – use, by anyone, of the Americans’ very own patent medicine of mass destruction. First, a well-meaning liberal of … Continue reading “RANDOM THOUGHTS, MOSTLY ON BOMBING”

POLITICS AND THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE

If the truth is the "first casualty of war," then the honest use of language must be "collateral damage." George Orwell rather famously dealt with some of the details in his essay, "Politics and the English Language" (1945). My topic is different insofar as I deal with the American language. That there is an "American … Continue reading “POLITICS AND THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE”

EMPIRE AS A WAY OF DEATH

OVERVIEW Pericles’ Funeral Oration is widely seen as a noble statement of core Western values. Noble, doubtless, but the rest is arguable (Western Civilization having had a bad day or two). Pericles – the Athenian FDR? – saw the Athenian Empire as the great defender of freedom – freedom defined, however, by the Athenian Empire … Continue reading “EMPIRE AS A WAY OF DEATH”

SOCIOLOGY, INDO-EUROPEANS, AND THE DESTINY OF THE WARRIORS

In 1987-91 I must have had too much time on my hands. I actually did an informal survey of what was going on British sociology. It wasn’t pretty. British sociology was "eat up" with Structural Marxism, that French imposture made up by Louis Althusser (Half-Hussar, as I call him) and his merry band. In the … Continue reading “SOCIOLOGY, INDO-EUROPEANS, AND THE DESTINY OF THE WARRIORS”

“WAR POWERS “: VAGUE, UNDEFINED, AND POST-CONSTITUTIONAL?

About a year ago, I took part in a heated debate over U.S. foreign policy on a historians’ e-mail list to which I belong. One side, whom I unkindly dubbed "the militarists," took the Goldwater/Buckley/etc. position that Presidents can pretty much do whatever they want and "we" have to support them once the bombs are … Continue reading ““WAR POWERS “: VAGUE, UNDEFINED, AND POST-CONSTITUTIONAL?”

CAUSES – LOST AND OTHERWISE

It has been said that "there are no lost causes because there are no gained causes." Whether this is true or not will not detain us here. Matthew Arnold called Oxford University "the home of lost causes," referring in particular, one assumes, to Oxford’s support for the ill-fated Charles I during the Puritan Revolution. Richard … Continue reading “CAUSES – LOST AND OTHERWISE”