Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Thomas Sowell explains how liberal pacifism causes wars

Thomas Sowell

I just finished reading Thomas Sowell’s “Intellectuals and Society” and I really recommend it. This post is about what I read in chapter 7 “Intellectuals and War” and chapter 8 “Intellectuals and War: Repeating History”. I found a couple of articles that contain the same arguments as in the book.

Here’s an article from Townhall.

Excerpt:

On the international scene, trying to assuage aggressors’ feelings and look at the world from their point of view has had an even more catastrophic track record. A typical sample of this kind of thinking can be found in a speech to the British Parliament by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938: “It has always seemed to me that in dealing with foreign countries we do not give ourselves a chance of success unless we try to understand their mentality, which is not always the same as our own, and it really is astonishing to contemplate how the identically same facts are regarded from two different angles.”

Like our former ambassador from the Carter era, Chamberlain sought to “remove the causes of strife or war.” He wanted “a general settlement of the grievances of the world without war.” In other words, the British prime minister approached Hitler with the attitude of someone negotiating a labor contract, where each side gives a little and everything gets worked out in the end. What Chamberlain did not understand was that all his concessions simply led to new demands from Hitler — and contempt for him by Hitler.

What Winston Churchill understood at the time, and Chamberlain did not, was that Hitler was driven by what Churchill called “currents of hatred so intense as to sear the souls of those who swim upon them.” That was also what drove the men who drove the planes into the World Trade Center.

Pacifists of the 20th century had a lot of blood on their hands for weakening the Western democracies in the face of rising belligerence and military might in aggressor nations like Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. In Britain during the 1930s, Labor Party members of Parliament voted repeatedly against military spending, while Hitler built up the most powerful military machine in Europe. Students at leading British universities signed pledges to refuse to fight in the event of war.

All of this encouraged the Nazis and the Japanese toward war against countries that they knew had greater military potential than their own. Military potential only counts when there is the will to develop it and use it, and the fortitude to continue with a bloody war when it comes. This is what they did not believe the West had. And it was Western pacifists who led them to that belief.

Then as now, pacifism was a “statement” about one’s ideals that paid little attention to actual consequences. At a Labor Party rally where Britain was being urged to disarm “as an example to others,” economist Roy Harrod asked one of the pacifists: “You think our example will cause Hitler and Mussolini to disarm?”

The reply was: “Oh, Roy, have you lost all your idealism?” In other words, the issue was about making a “statement” — that is, posturing on the edge of a volcano, with World War II threatening to erupt at any time. When disarmament advocate George Bernard Shaw was asked what Britons should do if the Nazis crossed the channel into Britain, the playwright replied, “Welcome them as tourists.”

That was explained even more in the book with more examples from history.

Most people think that Thomas Sowell is a libertarian, but he isn’t a full libertarian. He just reports the evidence. If the evidence is pro-war, then he’s pro-war. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher called this view “peace through strength”. There is only one reason why evil people do not attack – because they think that good people have the firepower tomake them pay dearly for their aggression, and – and this is very important – the will to use it. In the book, Sowell explains how the the left responded to the horror of world war one by undermining the will of the people to fight. They minimized patriotism and heroism, and emphasized charges of “imperialism”, moral equivalence, and lots of sob stories about victims.

Here’s an article that explains it more.

Excerpt:

In France, after the First World War, the teachers’ unions launched a systematic purge of textbooks, in order to promote internationalism and pacifism.

Books that depicted the courage and self-sacrifice of soldiers who had defended France against the German invaders were called “bellicose” books to be banished from the schools.

Textbook publishers caved in to the power of the teachers’ unions, rather than lose a large market for their books. History books were sharply revised to conform to internationalism and pacifism.

The once epic story of the French soldiers’ heroic defense against the German invaders at Verdun, despite the massive casualties suffered by the French, was now transformed into a story of horrible suffering by all soldiers at Verdun— French and German alike.

In short, soldiers once depicted as national heroes were now depicted as victims— and just like victims in other nations’ armies.

[...]France, where pacifism and internationalism were strongest, became a classic example of how much it can matter.

During the First World War, France fought on against the German invaders for four long years, despite having more of its soldiers killed than all the American soldiers killed in all the wars in the history of the United States, put together.

But during the Second World War, France collapsed after just six weeks of fighting and surrendered to Nazi Germany.

At the bitter moment of defeat the head of the French teachers’ union was told, “You are partially responsible for the defeat.”

Charles de Gaulle, Francois Mauriac, and other Frenchmen blamed a lack of national will or general moral decay, for the sudden and humiliating collapse of France in 1940.

At the outset of the invasion, both German and French generals assessed French military forces as more likely to gain victory, and virtually no one expected France to collapse like a house of cards — except Adolf Hitler, who had studied French society instead of French military forces.

Did patriotism matter? It mattered more than superior French tanks and planes.

Everybody wants peace. Everyone – on both sides of the issue. The problem is that one side – the leftists – call their opponents names like “imperialist” and talk “disarmament” and “dialog” as if they have have the answer to peace. That doesn’t work and it has never worked. Pacifism only “works” in the classroom, where naive children are forced to parrot the opinions of their secular leftist teachers who have no expertise in war or history. What has actually worked in history is peace through strength. Strength deters wars, strength deters violence. Strength – and the will to use that strength to restrain evil.

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Pro-Hamas rioters burn Jewish businesses and attack a synagogue

From Huffington Post UK. (H/T Bree)

Excerpt:

France’s politicians and community leaders have criticised the “intolerable” violence against Paris’ Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of cars.

It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city’s Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of “Gas the Jews” and “Kill the Jews”, as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as “little Jerusalem”.

[...]Eighteen people were arrested for attacks on shops, including a kosher supermarket, a Jewish-owned chemist and a funeral home. Rioters, who carried batons and threw petrol bombs according to eyewitnesses, were yards from the synagogue when they were driven back by riot police who used tear gas.

“They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats’,” David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. “It took us back to 1938.”

“We called our town ‘Little Jerusalem’ because we felt at home here,” Laetitia, a longtime Sarcelles resident, told France 24. “We were safe, there were never any problems. And I just wasn’t expecting anything like this. We are very shocked, really very shocked.”

Roger Cuikerman, head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France told Radio France International: “They are not screaming, ‘Death to the Israelis’ on the streets of Paris. They are screaming, “Death to the Jews.” The community was not just scared, but “anguished.”

The government had banned a demonstration planned in Paris for Saturday, but posters were seen around the area which said “Come equipped with hammers, fire extinguishers and batons” and promised a “raid on the Jewish district”.

France has around half a million Jews, the biggest population in Europe, and around five million Muslims.

This story is an absolute outrage. I do not like it when any group is intimidated with violence, just for their beliefs. It should get a stiff response from the government, but they are very liberal.

UPDATE: Lydia posted this story about Muslims rioting in Calgary, the most conservative city in Canada. Canada had unrestricted immigration for many years under the Liberal Party, which was oddly enough supported by most Jewish voters. Now they are reaping the whirlwind of their own choices.

Filed under: News, , , , ,

French mayor faces jail time for refusing to conduct gay couple’s wedding

From the NY Daily News.

Excerpt:

Jean-Michel Colo stirred up controversy by becoming the first French official to formally refuse to officiate at the wedding of a gay couple, Jean-Michel Martin and Guy Martineau-Espel. The Arcangues mayor’s actions defied a landmark French law allowing same-sex unions.

Two men are suing the mayor of a French village for refusing to marry them, in the first reported legal action over same-sex marriage since it was legalized in May amid strong, sometimes violent opposition.

Guy Martineau-Espel and Jean-Michel Martin, both in their 50s, filed a legal complaint against the mayor for refusing to marry them at the town hall of Arcangues, a village in southwestern France where the couple has lived for a decade.

“We will fight this battle to the finish,” Martineau-Espel told Reuters.

France adopted legislation in May that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry and adopt children, following in the footsteps of 13 other countries.

But the move divided opinion in France and came at a political price for the already unpopular government of President Francois Hollande.

Opponents of the law, led by Catholics and conservatives, staged mass street protests, some of which ended in violence, and the debate was also blamed for a spate of homophobic attacks in the mainly Catholic country.

Weddings in France are conducted by mayors or their deputies at town halls, of which there are about 36,000.

The couple in Arcangues applied to marry in May but the right-wing mayor, Jean-Michel Colo, turned them down.

Colo was summoned earlier this week by a government official and told to apply the law. He asked for more time to consider his options, prompting the couple to take action.

A refusal to comply with the gay marriage law could mean Colo faced up to five years in jail and a fine of up to 75,000 euros ($98,000).

“Even if in the end we manage to get married, we will stay the course with our legal complaint,” said Martineau-Espel.

This is pretty standard for countries that legalize gay marriage. You can just look at these examples from Canada, for confirmation that this is what happens after a country legalizes gay marriage. And they all promise that religious liberty will be protected before it’s passed, too. It’s even happening in Massachusetts.

Do you believe Obama when he says that our religious liberty will be protected even if marriage is redefined to include gay marriage, polygamy and polyamory? I think you can believe Obama as much about that as you can believe him about being able to keep your health care plan or about the Benghazi attack being caused by a Youtube video. The man’s a pathological liar, and that’s been proven over and over again.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Socialism in France: economy contracts by largest amount in four years

Here’s the BBC with some bad news for Europe.

Excerpt:

Germany’s economy slowed to “near stagnation” last month, while France’s recorded its biggest contraction for four years, according to a closely watched survey.

The Markit composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which measures both the manufacturing and services sectors, declined to 50.6 in Germany last month, from 53.3 in February.

Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

France’s reading fell to 41.9 points, its worst since March 2009.

For the eurozone as a whole, the index fell to 46.5 from 47.9 in February.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said the latest data painted a gloomy picture.

“The [eurozone] recession is deepening once again as businesses report that they have become increasingly worried about the region’s debt crisis and political instability,” he said.

“The unresolved election in Italy was commonly cited as a key factor clouding the economic outlook in March, and the botched bail-out of Cyprus could well filter through to a further worsening of business sentiment across the region in April.”

Mr Williamson added that the weak showing from Germany “suggests that the only source of bright light in an otherwise gloomy region has once again begun to fade”.

Germany’s index reading was the worst in the country for three months.

The French socialist government has also been rocked by a scandal:

It is hard to think of a worse scandal for the Socialist government in France. As “President Normal” and “Mr Fair”, François Hollande’s whole being and essence was to crack down on tax evasion and financial corruption, making the wealthy pay their share in dragging France out of its economic woes. Riding his scooter, living in his modest flat and taking a salary cut, Hollande had promised that, unlike Nicolas Sarkozy before him, his presidency would be “exemplary”, squeaky clean, and totally just.

But now Jerome Cahuzac, the trusted tax tsar and budget minister who had vigorously led Hollande’s crusade against fraudsters and tax-dodging millionaires, has made a shock confession of his own monumental fraud. With investigators and journalists closing in on the truth, he admitted hiding €600,000 (£509,000) from the taxman in a secret foreign account for 20 years. Not only that; Cahuzac had spent the past four months repeatedly lying on TV and to parliament, where he insisted from the government benches: “I do not have, I have never had, an account abroad, not now, not ever.”

Last year, France decided to elect a socialist prime minister named Francois Hollande, and then the people of France voted to give him a socialist majority in Parliament. And now we are seeing the results of that decision. Hollande’s priorities are things like a 75% income tax rate, hiring 60,000 new unionized teachers, lowering the retirement age back to 60, and massive spending on government-owned housing. It doesn’t look like his plan is working to grow the French economy.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hundreds of thousands of citizens protest against same-sex marriage in France

From the Washington Times.

Excerpt:

Holding aloft ancient flags and young children, hundreds of thousands of people converged Sunday on the Eiffel Tower to protest the French president’s plan to legalize gay marriage and thus allow same-sex couples to adopt and conceive children.

The opposition to President Francois Hollande’s plan has underscored divisions among the secular-but-Catholic French, especially more traditional rural areas versus urban enclaves. But while polls show the majority of French still support legalizing gay marriage, that backing gets more lukewarm when children come into play.

The protest march started at three points across Paris, filling boulevards throughout the city as demonstrators walked three miles to the grounds of France’s most recognizable monument. Paris police estimated the crowd at 340,000, making it one of the largest demonstrations in Paris since an education protest in 1984.

“This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said Philippe Javaloyes, a literature teacher who was bused in with 300 people from Franche Comte in the far east. “We have nothing against different ways of living, but we think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”

Public opposition spearheaded by religious leaders has chipped away at the popularity of Mr. Hollande’s plan in recent months. About 52 percent of French favor legalizing gay marriage, according to a survey released Sunday, down from as high as 65 percent in August.

[...]Harlem Desir, the leader of Mr. Hollande’s Socialist Party, said the protest would not affect the proposal’s progress. The Socialists control parliament, and a vote is expected by the end of January.

“The right to protest is protected in our country, but the Socialists are determined to give the legal right to marry and adopt to all those who love each other,” he said. “This is the first time in decades in our country that the right and the extreme right are coming into the streets together to deny new rights to the French.”

Isn’t interesting that the same political party that loves high tax rates also wants to redefine traditional marriage? Why is that?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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