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Las Vegas

from Peter Radford

So we go through it all again.

We go through the constant call for payers. The incessant search for reasons; the outpouring of emotion; the interviews; the graphics; the enumeration of mayhem; the grief of families; the interviews with experts; and the silence of the voices lost.

There are never, however, efforts to deal with the problem.

America is obsessed with guns. It adores them It worships them. It is sick with guns.

Blame it on the foolishness of the second amendment. Or, more pointedly, blame it on the truly stupid interpretation of that foolish amendment.

And blame it on a nation that clings stubbornly to the illusion that a few men a couple of hundred years ago would endorse the twisted version of their vision that the second amendment has become. They surely would not. They would move on, just as America today refuses to move on. The need for a well-armed militia is hardly relevant in today’s world. It is an artifact of history. Our contemporary problem is not the need for a militia, it is our need to rein in the gun lobbyists and the gun makers who peddle death.

Economics has a concept called “revealed preference”. Like it or not we can apply it to yesterday’s sickening violence. Because preferences are inscrutable to analysts — they are hidden within the minds of consumers — economists are forced to rely on what people actually purchase in order to define them. The assumption being that consumers reveal their preferences in their purchasing behavior. That there may be a million other causes for why people act as they do, but economists zero in own what they can measure. The immeasurable is ignored. 

So: whenever there is a mass shooting in America, and 2017 has seen over two hundred so far [yes over two hundred]! voters reveal their preferences in their action or inaction with respect to guns. More specifically, legislators do. And the reviews are in: America is indifferent to gun violence.

This looks as if it contradicts the outpourings on the day of a massacre. But leave it a day or two. Listen for the reaction. Watch for the determination to clamp down on guns. Look for any evidence at all that the country wants to prevent future mayhem. Wait. You will be waiting for a very long time. America adores its guns more than it detests the violence. Revealed preference suggests that all the angst is just smoke. The real preference is for continued violence. No one actually does anything to restrict the flow of weaponry onto the streets.


  • America has 29.7 murders using guns per million people. Switzerland is a distant second at 7.7.
  • There have been over 1,500 mass murders since the infamous sandy Hook massacre[about one per day]
  • Americans own over 42% of the non-military guns in the world, despite having only 4.5% of the world population.
  • States with stricter gun laws have fewer gun related deaths.
  • And even after a massacre the public doesn’t cry for gun control. Indeed the percentage of voters opposing gun control has edged up in recent years [perhaps due to white supremacists and their fear of a black man in the White House]?

So, don’t allow all this teary-eyed melodrama fool you: America will still love its guns tomorrow. America will remain the most violence-riddled  and violence-addicted of the advanced nations.

And there will be more massacres.

One more thing, if you think I am being callous or worse, remember this: after the Las Vegas slaughter survivors asked whether the shooter had been Muslim or a “regular guy”. Had he been Muslim we would have plunged down the terrorist rabbit hole and there would have been immediate calls for retribution and/or reaction, but he was a “regular guy”. So there is no need to react. After all, we all know that nothing can be done about a regular guy who owns an arsenal of offensive weaponry. No, nothing can be done about that. We all simply have to live with it.

Or die.

  1. October 5, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Sen Jeff Merkley fights for a budget for working people, Oct 4, 2017, 17 minSenator Jeff Merkley | | | | | |


    | | | | Senator Jeff Merkley WATCH LIVE: I’m on the Senate floor to speak out against Trump’s tax plan that benefits the 1% at the expense of… | |



  2. patrick newman
    October 5, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Why on Earth would a democratic modern country enshrine the ownership of a lethal weapon in its constitution as a right?

  3. October 5, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    I can’t think of a modern democratic nation that does. Where in earth can you mean?

    • Risk Analyst
      October 5, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Thank you for that. If we had a “comment of the month” section, your comment should be nominated.

  4. robert locke
    October 5, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I don’t think Americans love guns. I don’t, never had one in my house; moreover, I have never seen an American shot with a gun, and I am 85 years old. The problem is not love for guns, but the rigging of the American political system in a way that frustrates democracy. No need to point out how it is done, we are know that a minority runs the country through the control that nonpopulated state have in the dominance of outcome, and the way that rich people control elections. We have a leadership crisis in America. I’ve never seen such a lousy lot of people in a financialized economy in leagues with a political elite disserve the community in which they live. It is a real crisis for the American people.

  5. Garrett Connelly
    October 6, 2017 at 3:24 am

    Figure it out. Roughly. About how many million completely innocent people do you think the Pentagonians have killed since 1945?

  6. October 9, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    There are over 300 million guns in the USA today. That is a more than 100% increase since 1968. In that time the nation has not been invaded or become involved in a new civil war. The guns aren’t needed for personal protection. So why the increase? As they say, follow the money. During the 1970’s a hardline and well-funded group took over the NRA. The usual suspects funded them. Koch, etc. Their views on gun ownership and use are absolute. The right to own guns is fundamental and guaranteed by the Constitution. Gun manufacturers were a natural ally. Particularly, since all the gun companies were nearing bankruptcy, after four decades of changes in laws to restrict and control gun ownership and use. With the new NRA policies certain groups benefited. Gun owners and potential owners, gun manufacturers, the NRA, and politicians who received large “campaign” donations to support pro-gun use and ownership changes in the laws. Losers are cities, police departments, and citizens not owning or wanting to own guns.

    • Rob Reno
      November 25, 2017 at 12:02 am

      “During the 1970’s a hardline and well-funded group took over the NRA. The usual suspects funded them. Koch, etc. Their views on gun ownership and use are absolute. The right to own guns is fundamental and guaranteed by the Constitution. Gun manufacturers were a natural ally. Particularly, since all the gun companies were nearing bankruptcy, after four decades of changes in laws to restrict and control gun ownership and use. With the new NRA policies certain groups benefited. Gun owners and potential owners, gun manufacturers, the NRA, and politicians who received large ‘campaign’ donations to support pro-gun use and ownership changes in the laws. Losers are cities, police departments, and citizens not owning or wanting to own guns.” (Ken Zimmerman)

      “As writer Warren Cassidy of the NRA told Osha Gray Davidson, ‘You would get a better understanding if you approached us as if you were approaching one of the great religions of the world.’”(Bellesiles 2000, 7)

      The NRA has promoted pseudo-scholarship similar to the way the tobacco industry funded fake scholarship to mislead the public about the link between smoking and cancer or the way the climate denial industry funds pseudo-scholarship to deny climate change. Patrick J. Charles documents the history of the NRA’s involvement in distorting the history of the Second Amendment and how the Supreme Court relied on NRA propaganda in the Supreme Court’s decisions in McDonald v. City of Chicago and District of Columbia v. Heller. He shows how history proves that the Second Amendment wasn’t about the personal right to own a firearm because that was never the issue nor was this right ever questioned by the Founders as English Common Law already addressed that issue. He proves by meticulous historical scholarship how guns have always been regulated by federal, state, and local ordinances even after the drafting and adoption of the US Constitution. The NRA’s propaganda (pseudo-scholarship) that private gun ownership is constitutionally protected under the Second Amendment is a fiction–historical revisionism of recent origin. But it is a fiction believed by 75% of the American public, regardless of whether they believe in gun control or not (Charles 2009, 2). That in my view is a very dangerous thing and goes to the root of democracy–the need for intelligent and historically accurate information and its use by informed citizens (Churchill 2009, 213). The NRA’s claim that an “armed citizenry” is what Jefferson meant as the constitutional “protection against standing armies” is born out neither by the historical record or legal works of early eighteenth century commentators. As the evidence shows, it “is clear that an armed rabble or unorganized militia–i.e., a mere ‘armed citizenry’–was a danger to republican liberty, not an advancement of it (Charles 2012, 1764).”

      If ignorant gun zealots and a well-funded NRA can manage to somehow turn history and the very intent of the Founders’ in their drafting of the Second Amendment on its head 180 degrees in opposition to their original intent, what does this say about the state of American culture and education?

      Reference List

      1. Churchill, Robert T. To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant’s Face [Libertarian Political Violence and the Origins of the Militia Movement]. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; 2009.

      Notes: The idea of reviving the militia as a revolutionary institution gained currency on the far right as early as the 1980s and it took several different forms. In 1984 William Potter Gale envisioned the “unorganized militia” as a county-based military force that would enforce the mandates of the Committee of the United States. (Churchill 2009, 212-213)

      In 1992, white supremacist Louis Beam wrote as essay entitled “Leaderless Resistance” in which he argued that “those who love our race” should form leaderless cells for the purpose of resisting a government whose corruption he measured by its enforcement of civil rights and equal protection for minorities. He suggested that such cells would strike proactively at government in a manner impossible to predict: “Those idealists truly committed to the cause of freedom will act when they feel the time is ripe, or will take their cue from others who precede them.” When white supremacists gathered in Estes Park in 1992 to formulate their response to Ruby Ridge, Beam offered his essay as the organizational model for a new militia movement. (Churchill 2009, 212-213)

      These far right conceptions of a revived militia would not, however, serve as the intellectual inspiration for the movement. The final necessary factor in the emergence of the militia movement was the recovery of the libertarian memory of the American by the gun rights movement. In the mid-1970s, the National Rifle Association adopted a much more militant stance in its political lobbying, arguing that all forms of gun control violated basic constitutional principles. To make its case more persuasive, the NRA promoted legal scholarship to support the thesis that private gun ownership was constitutionally protected under the Second Amendment. This individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, though common in nineteenth century, has fallen out of favor with judges and most legal scholars in the twentieth century. (Churchill 2009, 213)

      Together these ideas became a fundamental part of the collective memory of the gun rights movement, and gun rights activists carried this memory into the Christian Patriot public sphere and into the militia movement. (Churchill 2009, 215)

      1. Charles, Patrick J. The Second Amendment in Historiographical Crisis [Why the Supreme Court Must Reevaluate the Embarrassing “Standard Model” Moving Forward]. Fordham Urban Law Journal. 2011; 391741-43; 1746;1751; 1757; 1764; 1774; 1776; 1781; 1791-93 .

      Notes: Standard Model writers will undoubtedly continue to claim that an “armed citizenry” is what Jefferson meant as the constitutional “protection against standing armies.” The intellectual and ideological origins of a well-regulated militia do not support this conclusion. The historical record, including legal works of early eighteenth century commentators, is clear that an armed rabble or unorganized militia–i.e., a mere “armed citizenry”–was a danger to republican liberty, not an advancement of it.[64]

      (….) The Second Amendment expressly states it is a “well regulated militia,” a rather distinct constitutional military body of citizen-soldiers.[184] (Charles 2012, 1764)[183]

      [64] 1 Stat. 271 (1792).

      [183] Furthermore, the intellectual history of what constituted a constitutional “well-regulated” militia disproves the “armed citizenry” or “armed populace” construct.

      • November 25, 2017 at 1:02 pm

        Rob, excellent. The pattern you describe in being repeated by many groups. Particularly, right, and left extremists. The level of historical curiosity, knowledge, and interest of Americans is so low that such deceptions are easily inflicted upon them. That, and the cynicism, favor toward autocracy, and racism of large parts of the American populace, condemn the nation to ever more such anti-intellectualism. The nation is moving toward fascism. This problem needs to be addressed by us all.

  7. Rob Reno
    November 26, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you Ken, appreciate the kind word. I fear your assessment is true; the US is moving toward fascism and autocracy. I am urging my children to emigrate to Canada to pursue their higher degrees in science and to seek citizenship outside the US. I Believe the propaganda battle is lost and the rise of Trump is the mortal wound that will finish the dirty deed. If as Charles asserts, it will only be reversed by the Supreme Court revisiting this issue and overturning Scalia’s warped and ahistorical parroting of NRA pseudo-scholarship under the sophistry of “textual originalism,” then I hold out little hope give the way Trump is stacking the Supreme Court. I want my children to get out now for the sake of my grandchildren.

    • November 27, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Rob, I have dual citizenship – Germany and the US. I like Germany and my family there. But I’m likely to stay put in the US. I gave blood for the US. I’ll be damned if a group of financial adolescents is going to push me out. I may, however advise my children and wife to make an extended visit to Germany, if the situation deteriorates any more.

      • Rob Reno
        November 28, 2017 at 7:25 pm

        I’m a veteran too Ken. I understand your sentiment completely. I am advising my daughters to get dual citizenship too out of the came concerns I have seen reflected in your comments, which I enjoy reading along with all the others.

      • November 29, 2017 at 6:54 am

        Rob, hopefully, none of us will be forced out.

    • Risk Analyst
      November 28, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      In the US post-war period if you wanted to threaten and condemn a political opponent you could call them a communist, later around the 90’s to Y2K you could call them racist, and now to intimidate and condemn them they are called fascist. That is your use of the word and nothing more. Back in November there was a march of about 60,000 real neo-fascists in Poland. You could go to Germany and onto Poland to watch the next march, and maybe then you would appreciate this country a bit more.

      • Rob Reno
        November 28, 2017 at 9:19 pm

        So (anonymous) Risk Analyst, are you implying that the neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville chanting, “The Jews will not replace us!” are merely “political opponents”? I am not sure how you make the distinction between “real” neo-fascists and those who marched in Charlottesville given their beliefs are pretty much virtually indistinguishable. Do you also find no racism in the KKK members marching with them and agitating for race wars and a return to segregation? Or is this just another “political opponent”?

        Your comments, which I well may be misreading, sounds like you are equating KKK racist and neo-nazi anti-Semitic and nationalist rhetoric with merely another opinion, like I like blueberry ice cream while another likes strawberry ice cream. Am I missing something?

        No doubt extremism, nationalism, racism, xenophobic ideologies are on the rise globally. Perhaps they are scarier where you are observing them, which seems all the more reason to take their rise here in the US as even more serious.

      • Risk Analyst
        November 28, 2017 at 9:31 pm

        The news accounts I recall was that there were about 100 neo-Nazi protestors. That is not a political movement and not even up to the count you would get at a Sigma Kappa Epsilon fraternity party.

      • Risk Analyst
        November 28, 2017 at 9:33 pm

        Correction: meant to say sigma alpha epsilon

      • Rob Reno
        November 28, 2017 at 10:59 pm

        “I recall was that there were about 100 neo-Nazi protestors. That is not a political movement.” ~ Risk Analyst

        I am sure that will comfort the parents of those run over by the white supremacist, especially the women deliberately run over and killed, that their numbers (which is really irrelevant) don’t rise to the level of a “political movement.” More to the point, you evade answering my questions. Jingoistic patriotism equates in my view with the same kind of blind patriotism spouted by the white nationalists, neo-nazis, and KKK.

      • Risk Analyst
        November 28, 2017 at 11:46 pm

        So your concern stands on: one person killed in a clash between two groups desperately looking for trouble, and talk (“spouting”) of supporting one’s own country. I just don’t see the jump in logic to, say, comparing the US to Germany in 1936 or whatever you are trying for.

      • Rob Reno
        November 29, 2017 at 12:40 am

        “So your concern stands on: one person killed in a clash.” No, that is _purely_ your erroneous assumption. Yet, you evade the core questions again ;-)

      • Rob Reno
        November 29, 2017 at 12:58 am

        “I just don’t see the jump in logic to, say, comparing the US to Germany in 1936 or whatever you are trying for.”

        It would be naïve to not discern differences as well as parallels with what is happening in the US today and 1930s Germany. Ethnic nationalism, jingoistic patriotism, and racism are human attitudes that are universal and can be found in all cultures.

        “Arguments do not always wear their true purpose on their face, nor are courts required to take them at face value. Laws against miscegenation paraded in a religious and moral dress, but the Supreme Court ultimately held that they were nothing but a device to shore up ‘White Supremacy.'” (Nussbaum 2008: 343-344, Liberty of Conscience [In Defense of America’s Tradition of Religious Equality].)

        I think your refusal to answer my questions speaks volumes about your real motives.

        I have no idea (since you say nothing of substance really) what you mean by “supporting one’s own country”? Perhaps you could explain yourself better so you might be understood?

      • Risk Analyst
        November 29, 2017 at 4:10 am

        My real motives? There is a well known phrase in the TV industry that goes “jump the shark.” That’s what this discussion just did.

      • robert locke
        November 29, 2017 at 8:56 am

        ” Back in November there was a march of about 60,000 real neo-fascists in Poland. You could go to Germany and onto Poland to watch the next march, and maybe then you would appreciate this country a bit more.”

        Risk analysis, all politics is local. What do you know about Poland and “real neo-fascists.” Your comments about Poland or any other place about which your know nothing is on a par with the comments I and my wife and son (of Polish orgins) hear from Poles about the United States. Their views of the US are filtered through Polish politics and polish history. And they are wrong. So we don’t discuss the US with Poles in my Polish family — it is a waste time.

        Nor can I discuss Europe with most Americans; they don’t have a clue. What I have to do is choose where to live. I choose to live in Europe, because I figured out long ago that the only people who are “free” in America are people with money.

        Ironically, there is much more freedom and democracy in Europe, once the fascists were defeated than in the US once neoliberalism took over.

      • Rob Reno
        November 29, 2017 at 4:57 pm

        “… one person killed in a clash between two groups desperately looking for trouble …” ~ Risk Analyst
        In my view it is false equivalence to characterize what happened in Charlottesville as “just two groups desperately looking for trouble.” This fallacy of inconsistency ignores those critical differences that come from the message and motives made clear in the words and deeds of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists and the ugly history of racism and Nazism and the message and ideology they espouse. To thoughtlessly define loyalty as patriotism would be to make the same error as certain Germans, later designated as war criminals who committed the most hideous crimes, and who confused loyalty with blind patriotism. Walter Berns in “Freedom and Loyalty” made this point well I think:

        “It was on the basis of the definition of loyalty as patriotism that certain Germans, later designated as war criminals, committed the most hideous crimes, while their prosecution at Nuremberg was based on the proposition that there is a cause beyond Fatherland to which a man should be loyal. At Nuremberg this cause was said to be humanity. Loyalty as blind patriotism is obviously not enough; the reasonable man will insist that his country be worthy of his loyalty by representing a cause with which he can agree (Berns 1956, 21, Freedom and Loyalty, The Journal of Politics 18:1, 17-21, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.2307/2126674).”

        He argues that a reasonable person would withhold loyalty from a despotic regime even if it’s demagoguery became popular doctrine and gained he reigns of power in a fair market-place competition. His conclusion is that “loyalty cannot be defined as patriotism, neither can freedom be the cause to which we pledge our allegiance. In fact, loyalty can be defined reasonably only in terms of moral principle.” Himmler was a good citizen of Nazi Germany, no doubt loyal and appreciative of the Third Reich. But he was a bad man. Today we hail as heros those Germans who resisted the Nazis; it is obvious that disloyalty is far from being _evil_ in itself when it becomes a moral necessity, which is Germany 1930s a few believed it was. Hitler and those Germans who loyally followed him and supported the Nazi regime were “good citizens” yet today we view such loyalty to the Nazi agenda as an indication of moral depravity. “Loyalty to a bad regime is an indication of moral depravity – the case of Himmler and Nazi Germany. Loyalty to one’s country is justified only if one’s country deserves that loyalty: loyalty in itself is not a virtue.” (Berns 1956)

        Further he writes,

        “The problem of freedom and loyalty cannot be severed from the political problem. The political problem is how to get consent to wise political decisions or wise leadership, leaders in Hamilton’s words, with the ‘wisdom to discern and the virtue to pursue the common good.’ In a democracy this means how to educate, how to form the character of citizens so that they will give their consent to wise leadership and withhold it from bigots and demagogues…. For if the citizens vote for bigots and demagogues, there will be no free speech: we can be certain that demagogues will censor. To avoid demagogues and the totalitarianism of society that de Tocqueville feared, it may be necessary to censor – it will certainly be necessary for the law to promote virtue, to train citizens in virtuous ways, to foster loyalty to moral principle.” (Berns 1956)

        Freedom for freedoms sake alone regardless of the values espoused or consequences they entail is license masquerading as liberty. So, in my mind, the real question is freedom for what? Loyalty to what?

  8. November 29, 2017 at 6:51 am

    It’s much more than a word to me. I grew up in TX and worked all over the Southwest and Midwest. There you can’t throw a rock without hitting a Nazi. Or, KKK. Or, Aryan nation. And many of them, like Fred Koch had plenty of money. Mostly, they stayed out of the spotlight. But during the WWII they helped Hitler as much as they could. And after the War they began pretending to be just another political party. They are part of the anti-civil rights, anti-Hispanic, anti-women’s equality, anti-gay rights, etc. movements. The most violent part. My advice to those who ask about Nazis, and fascists generally is shoot them on sight.

    The National Socialists in Germany (Nazis) began with only a few dozen members. Look what they accomplished. Nazism is an ideology fundamentally inimical to everyone who isn’t a Nazi. It is a known and proven threat to life. Simply put, Nazis will kill anyone or anything that isn’t Nazi. It’s not possible to negotiate with Nazis. I do qualify this statement somewhat, since as a psychologist I have successfully treated a few.

    • robert locke
      November 30, 2017 at 9:01 am

      I know, Ken, that you realize the explanation for the Nazi takeover is much more complicated that here presented. When I taught German history, I had to place my explanation within a context that was German and did not try to make Germans any more immoral than any other people. Germans never voted in the majority for NAZIs in the elections under the Weimar Republic. It was others that let the Nazis in, those Germans that did not embrace the Weimar Republic, and that was most of them. The Communists, who out of hatred of the SPD, refused to withdraw from the Presidential Elections of 1925, thereby enabling Hindenburg to win, the Monarchists who formed an alliance with Hitler to give him the Chancellorship in 1933, the Catholics, the Monarchists, who voted for the Enabling Act inn 1933, that gave Hitler dictatorial powers (only the SPD voted against it). It was not fascists in Germany that turned the Nazis loose, but a lack of believe in a democratic Republic. Once Hitler got his hands on power, legally, he knew what to do with it. That is the potential danger with a Trump.

      • November 30, 2017 at 12:41 pm

        Robert, after the end of WWI Germany was in chaos. The Weimar Republic never provided solutions for the many problems facing Germans. Its failure was not a surprise to most. Particularly since the US never supported it or the League of Nations that set it up. You have the history correct. Germany was infected with poverty, uncertainty, and continuing attacks from the outside. Including saddled with reparations payments demanded by France and the UK. Hitler took advantage of the circumstances. My question is about why so few Germans fought against Hitler once he was elected Chancellor. Hitler consolidated power quickly. But even so there was time to disrupt, perhaps even undermine his chancellorship. That Germans had no experience with democracy explains some of the embrace. Also, anti-Semitism was endemic in Germany before Hitler. So, Hitler advocating it did not seem unusual. Hitler even had many examples to choose from in committing mass murder and genocide (USSR and USA are prime ones). And fascism was an Italian, not a German invention. Combine fascism with the fanatical in-the-blood populism of National Socialism and you have Nazis. Per Yonatan Zunger, “Nazism is an ideology fundamentally inimical to everyone who isn’t a Nazi. It is a known and proven threat to life.” Why did Germany embrace it? Why did Germany plan so carefully and take such drastic actions to kill millions of Jews, Gypsies, mentally and physically impaired, etc. and commit such horrifying war crimes?

      • robert locke
        November 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm

        There is a difference before and after Hitler achieved power. Getting power is an important step and Germany was particularly vulnerable to Hitler’s power grab for the reason you give. In countries that “won” WWI and had democratic liberal traditions, like France, there were plenty of anti-semites around, and fascists, but the democratic left united in 1936 in the popular front to defeat the Right. That could not happen in Germany because no democratic liberal tradition existed. French fascists took over after Germany defeated the Republic in 1940.

        Once Hitler consolidated his power in 1934, it was extremely diffecult to oppose him (Gleichschaltung). People in free countries have trouble understanding what kind of courage is necessary to oppose fascist terror. People in France collaborated, too, because joining a resistance posed an existential threat to those who did. If Nazis took power in Germany now, I would not resist, except by running away. Flight not fight is the best policy under totalitarism.

      • December 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        Robert, each of us must make this decision. I’m too old to learn new tricks. Running away never suited me.

      • robert locke
        December 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        I suspected as much, Ken. But my wife’s father, who spent 20 years in Stalin’s Gulag, told her that in a totalitarian regime, “everyone is afraid, only some are braver and die, and the others die anyway, crying, begging, and broken. When facing death everyone is afraid.” He added, in Poland, during Solidarosc “Remember, there are no heros in a revolutionary fight, and most revolutions fail.”

      • December 3, 2017 at 1:26 pm

        My German uncle Christian turns 100 next year. He fought in WWII as a member of a tank crew. My father fought in WWII on ships in the Pacific (he wasn’t allowed to fight in Europe due to his German ancestry). Both told me about things they did in the war of which they are not proud. They also told me about how frightened they were all the time during the war. And they agree the war was a foolish waste. But also said sometimes war is necessary. Robert, I can’t agree there are no heroes in a revolution. I’ve had the privilege of knowing a few personally. But history does bear out that most revolutions never achieve the goals they profess. Not in the long term, at least.

      • robert locke
        December 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

        “Robert, I can’t agree there are no heroes in a revolution. I’ve had the privilege of knowing a few personally.”

        In my wife’s autobiography, Discovering Vera, I write on the back cover about the book’s handling of the overthrow of Communism in the 1980s:

        “[The book] is about sexual harassment of women in Poland’s managerial bureaucracy in the 1980s and the political collapse of the regime — a murky affair, where from Vera’s perspective, the ‘good guys’ are often indistinguishable from the ‘bad'”

        Vera didn’t admire the opponents of the regime, and she certainly did not respect the communist party bureaucrats, but she did respect the members of the party who actually worked in the industries, running them, the engineers who went into the mines in times of danger to look after the workers trapped in a disaster. .

      • December 4, 2017 at 5:59 am

        Robert, your wife’s a very smart woman. And I agree with her.

    • Rob Reno
      December 1, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Robert and Ken as always enjoy reading. Your comments remind me of a paper I read (some time ago, as Trump was being elected, as I researched ‘demagogues’ in history):

      Ordinary Economic Voting Behavior in the Extraordinary Election of Adolf Hitler Author(s): Gary King, Ori Rosen, Martin Tanner and Alexander F. Wagner Source: The Journal of Economic History , Vol. 68, No. 4 (Dec., 2008), pp. 951-996 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Economic History Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40056466

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