Home > Uncategorized > Don’t think like a freak

Don’t think like a freak

from Lars Syll

In their latest book, Think Like a Freak, co-authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner tell a story about meeting David Cameron in London before he was Prime Minister. They told him that the U.K.’s National Health Service — free, unlimited, lifetime health care — was laudable but didn’t make practical sense.

“We tried to make our point with a thought experiment,” they write …

1643.Lebowski.jpg-610x0Rather than seeing the humor and realizing that health care is just like any other part of the economy, Cameron abruptly ended the meeting, demonstrating one of the risks of ‘thinking like a freak’ …

So what do Dubner and Levitt make of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare?

“I do not think it’s a good approach at all,” says Levitt … Purchasing health care is almost exactly like purchasing any other good in the economy …”   Aaron Task

Portraying health care as “just like any other part of the economy” is, of course, nothing but total horseshit. So, instead of “thinking like a freak,” why not read what Kenneth Arrow wrote on the issue of medical care back in 1963 (“Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care,” AER):

Under ideal insurance the patient would actually have no concern with the informational inequality between himself and the physician, since he would only be paying by results anyway, and his utility position would in fact be thoroughly guaranteed. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????In its absence he wants to have some guarantee that at least the physician is using his knowledge to the best advantage. This leads to the setting up of a relationship of trust and confidence, one which the physician has a social obligation to live up to … The social obligation for best practice is part of the commodity the physician sells, even though it is a part that is not subject to thorough inspection by the buyer.

One consequence of such trust relations is that the physician cannot act, or at least appear to act, as if he is maximizing his income at every moment of time. As a signal to the buyer of his intentions to act as thoroughly in the buyer’s behalf as possible, the physician avoids the obvious stigmata of profit-maximizing … The very word, ‘profit’ is a signal that denies the trust relation.

  1. Patrick Newman
    May 17, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    In the NHS patients are subject to a rationing process based on an assessment of medical need. In the provision of private health, the rationing process is subject to an ability to pay which trumps the medical need. The transaction between the patient and the NHS generates hardly any paperwork apart from the need internally for creating essential medical records. This helps to explain why health in the UK costs about 9.5% of GDP but in the USA it is about 17% with worse outcomes – life expectancy, general health!

    • May 18, 2019 at 12:34 am

      Yes, and the difference also includes extra entrepreneurial, artistic and intellectual bloom.

      Cosmic powered biology manifest as human is logically timid before potentially gigantic unforeseen medical expenses.

      One extra Edison, Picasso and Einstein per generation would cover all expenses. There are many other names than these three.

      Health care is a human right. Healthy people produce more and live better lives. A strong nation cares for all the people just like good farmers care for all of the farm. Medicare for all now at 100% coverage from birth is good. Tax all income the same to fund medicare. Improve medicare after everyone is covered. First things first.

  2. Dave Raithel
    May 18, 2019 at 1:07 am

    I do love me some Kenneth Arrow.

  3. Helen Sakho
    May 19, 2019 at 1:58 am

    Access to free health care is indeed a human right, as is access to decent education and housing.

    The NHS (while still more humane compared to the US and some other advanced capitalist countries) has actually never been free and accessible to all citizens. It has always been based on a process of “geographical lottery”. And currently it is actually crumbling under too much demand, with doctors and nurses under so much pressure that one does not have the heart to use them. The introduction of private health insurance, the variety of which is mind blowing, has gradually replaced it to a large extend. But it does offer quicker access to specialist services, which the NHS used to offer many years ago.

    First things first indeed! However, the billions of money (in any currency) that need to be injected into basic human rights, is bound to be impossible to find. So, the poor (patients and doctors) will get poorer and the top rich private sector insurers richer, with some trickle down effect to decent private sector doctors and specialists.

  4. May 23, 2019 at 9:53 am

    “billions of money (in any currency) that need to be injected into basic human rights, is bound to be impossible to find.” That’s what they tell you. But it isn’t true. The UK and the USA are monetary sovereign states of which the government is the currency issuer. They can create as much money as needed. It is political will that denies spending on healthcare, not fiscal constraint. Theor governments can never run out of money, nor go broke. ‘Finding the money’ is not the problem, finding the way to force them to spend it is.

  5. Ken Zimmerman
    May 27, 2019 at 2:21 am

    For law makers in the USA, UK, and some other places ensuring health care was in the past rather simple. Law makers ensured that businesses were successful, businesses ensured jobs for constituents with good pay and affordable health insurance, constituents voted to return law makers to office. Simple circle. Of course, some were left out of the process. Such as racial and ethnic minorities, political outcasts, etc. So, what messed it up? Capitalism! Neoliberal capitalism took an ax to the existing system. Health care and doctors became just additional profit centers. As we all know, profit is king, right?

    • Rob
      May 27, 2019 at 9:36 am

      HR used to be a cost center; now it is a profit center by the technique of Shedding Employees and Fissuring the Workplace, thereby turning Fulltime (FT) employees into “contract” workers supplied via “third party vendors.” David Weil has documented this in great detail:

      As major companies have consciously invested in building brands and devoted customers as the cornerstone of their business strategy, they have also shed their role as the direct employer of the people responsible for providing those products and services. In all of the above cases, the jobs shifted away to be done by separate employers pay low wages; provide limited or often no health care, pension, or other benefits; and offer tenuous job security. Moreover, workers in each case received pay or faced workplace conditions that violated one or more workplace laws.” (The Fissured Workplace” by David Weil)

      As major companies have consciously invested in building brands and devoted customers as the cornerstone of their business strategy, they have also shed their role as the direct employer of the people responsible for providing those products and services. In all of the above cases, the jobs shifted away to be done by separate employers pay low wages; provide limited or often no health care, pension, or other benefits; and offer tenuous job security. Moreover, workers in each case received pay or faced workplace conditions that violated one or more workplace laws. (Weil, David. The Fissured Workplace (pp. 2-3). Harvard University Press. Kindle Edition.)

      By shedding direct employment, lead business enterprises select from among multiple providers of those activities and services formerly done inside the organization, thereby substantially reducing costs and dispatching the many responsibilities connected to being the employer of record. Information and communication technologies have enabled this hidden transformation of work, since they allow lead companies to promulgate and enforce product and quality standards key to their business strategies, thereby maintaining the carefully created reputation of their goods and services and reaping price premiums from their loyal customer base. The new organization of the workplace also undermines the mechanisms that once led to the workforce sharing part of the value created by their large corporate employers. By shedding employment to other parties, lead companies change a wage-setting problem into a contracting decision. The result is stagnation of real wages for many of the jobs formerly done inside.” (Weil, David. The Fissured Workplace, Read) ….

      In essence, private strategies and public policies allow major companies to simultaneously profit from the core activities that create value in the eyes of customers and the capital markets and shed the actual production of goods and services. In so doing, they have their cake and eat it too. (Weil, David. The Fissured Workplace, Read)

      Indeed, Wall Street and Shareholder capitalism demands that everything be turned into a profit center. Employees were once a “human asset,” where wage costs plus benefits were part of the story (they still are, but on a limited and selective basis only).

      Often overlooked on this blog is that different cultures handle these issues very differently, which begs the question, why this blog ignores cultural differences that prove Mainstream Economics (ME) is bullshit and not universal? Lack of knowledge of the ways other cultures view these issues? One major corporation here in Japan recently made an entire division redundant and not a single employee lost their job. They were moved to different roles, different subsidiary companies, etc., but no one was laid off and left destitute. Why? Certainly not because of ME theory BS! No, because of corporate philosophy and culture, that is why.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 27, 2019 at 11:11 am

        Rob, why even many of those who post here don’t see the extent of the damage being done to the West and the entire world by ME is they’re still blinded by the cultural belief that the West is exceptional. The West must always be the most advanced, smartest, and richest part of the world. It simply cannot be otherwise. So, what may seem like errors and even stupidity on the part of the West are simply ignored. Maybe a little correction here and there may be needed, but certainly no big changes in the West’s ways of life are required.

      • Rob
        May 27, 2019 at 12:13 pm

        Hubris comes before the fall. Another “dark ages” may be required to teach humanity the lesson. We have been down this road before, the only difference is our weapons are more destructive. How many global wars will it take to teach humans humility?

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 7:35 am

        Rob, this is hubris on steroids. And I don’t think the majority of Americans of today can or would give it up.

      • Rob
        May 27, 2019 at 12:32 pm

        Ken, with idiots like this equating universal healthcare as socialism America is in for a rough ride.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 7:54 am

        Rob, I understand Hickenlooper’s fears about a second term for Don, “the con.” And he’s correct that Democrats need to focus on “kitchen table issues.” What he misses, however, is that health care for every American, turning back climate change, and providing jobs in emerging rather than declining industries are “kitchen table issues.” All the polling shows this, particularly among the 18-40 cohort; those who will have to live the rest of their lives in the world we leave them. Frankly, I’m ashamed of my generation, the baby-boomers. We, and I include myself, have made too many mistakes. We allowed fascism to rise again both in the US and in Europe, allowed democracy to be threatened, undermined, and now murdered by a fascist Republican Party (Trump is just the sideshow). Our children and grandchildren will curse our names and deeds if we don’t fix this right now. Assuming we haven’t already killed them.

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 7:56 am

        Hickenlooper is a fool. Too many Americans are too ignorant to realize

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 8:52 am

        Hickenlooper is no fool. I’ve met him a couple of times. He is as my grandmother said, just “old fashioned.” And unlike stupid, which can’t be cured, foolishness can be overcome. Sometimes with just a short conversation. I’ve seen it happen more than once.

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 8:56 am

        Then he is worse than a fool in my book. Anyone that can look at Anerica’s healthcare crisis today and make the ignorant (or wilfully untrue) claim that universal health insurance is socialism damn them to hell, if there was such a thing.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 9:55 am

        Rob, in the 1990s renewable energy was beginning to take off. But that also led to more attacks and more money being used to hurt renewable energy. I was heavily involved in getting renewable energy established in the southern US. And I was angry about wholly untrue and unethical attacks in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, etc. My friend Hermann Scheer helped me deal with the situation and my anger. Hermann was a practical renewable advocate. He once said (as a member of the German Bundestag), “Nuclear power and fossil fuels are the choices of the past. Renewable energy is the choice of the future that is here today.” Also, “Our dependence on fossil fuels amounts to global pyromania, and the only fire extinguisher we have at our disposal is renewable energy.” He told me minds can be changed one at a time through conversation. Hermann did that for years around the world. It works. Sometimes you are threatened or hurt, but it’s better than war. I’m asking you to consider it.

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 12:16 pm

        I don’t want war Ken, I just see the writing in the wall with Trump, Bolton, and crew. The US is at a crossroad. You see the state of the GOP and how it helps to destroy our democracy. You say our children will curse us if it goes over the precipice.
        Let us hope the crop of leaders rising up to oppose Trump succeed changing one mind at a time, but I let there be no doubt, time is running out. A house cannot stand divided, and Trump if reelected will take us over the precipice and drag the entire world with him.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 1:55 pm

        Regarding Trump and Pence, the most direct and least risky way to deal with them is to impeach both and remove them from office. If the Democrats can win the Senate next year that becomes possibility. But a 2/3 majority is required in the Senate to convict. That’s 67 votes for removal from office. Trump could also be forced to resign if too many legal problems left him unable to handle the job, even minimally. If Trump, and associates continue to do harm to the nation, my personal suggestion is remove them by any (peaceful) means possible.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 4:37 am

        The Federalist quoted Jefferson with approval: “An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.” (Making the American Self)

        If Trump and Pence cannot be removed peacefully than it is over. U pray if it comes to that I can get all my children out of America.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 29, 2019 at 7:52 am

        Rob, the full quote from Federalist #58 is, An ELECTIVE DESPOTISM was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.

        Alexander Hamilton. The Federalist Papers (p. 305). Chios Classics. Kindle Edition.

        The men (and often their wives) were smart and had seen despotism up close and personal. They wanted to keep in out of the new nation. Dividing the power was one of their precautions. In fact, the Constitution is filled with precautions and protections. But the fatal flaw of their plan is it depends on elected and appointed government officials who want the nation to survive in the form it was established. After 100 years of propaganda, bribery, bullying, and direct threats there may not be enough of such officials left to save the nation now. Recruiting and getting such people into federal (and state and local) government positions is today first priority. If we lose that race, nothing else matters. My own view is Trump will be out of office in a few months. Pence can’t keep his hands out of ladies’ privates so he won’t last long as president. Then is the opportunity to change the direction of the nation back to a Constitutional course. We don’t want to miss this train.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 7:55 am

        Those divisions of power are being torn assunder as we type. We gave an elective depotism. I won’t let me children fight to save it if peacefully democratic means fail. It isn’t worth it.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 8:49 am

        Have, not gave, turn on the damn edit button!

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 29, 2019 at 9:08 am

        Rob, I don’t pray. We can’t leave Trump, Pence in office with over 4,000 nuclear warheads at their command. Sort of puts Americans and the world in a pact, right?

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 10:36 am

        Overwhelmingly, Ken, white, evangelical Christians voted for Trump. How does someone like you communicate, let alone understand, why they did so? Do you think they can just be ignored and the problem of their reasons (regardless of how flawed you or I see them) will just go away? Do you think over fourty years of a culture war might have something to do with the current state of America?

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 29, 2019 at 11:48 am

        Rob, I don’t get along with Christian Evangelicals. However, religious freedom is a fundamental. But that freedom ends when any group of believers, no matter what they believe attempts to force their beliefs on others and/or enters into open or secret attempts to overthrow the US government. So long as that is not the case, I’m all for religious groups believing whatever they want, no matter how crazy.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm

        How did we get from John F. Kennedy’s eloquent speech at the Rice Hotel in Houston on September 12, 1960, in which he urged voters effectively to bracket a candidate’s faith out of their considerations when they entered the voting booths, to George W. Bush’s declaration on the eve of the 2000 Iowa precinct caucuses that Jesus was his favorite philosopher? ((Balmer, Randall. God in the White House [A History]. New York: HarperOne; 2008; p. Preface.)

        Well Ken, I never have either. But it would be a mistake to lump them all into the same stereotype. They are a diverse lot. But the lot that has thrown its hat in with Trumpism have long history in America, and are in my view are the American Taliban. Different only in degree, and if not for certain historical restraints, would be just as bad.

        Here is where we differ I guess. I think it is foolish to not care about the quality of religion in America. I think that leaving them to their crazy will lead to the end of America. I think that we are drip by drip moving towards a oligarchy that uses religion like a John wears a condom (e.g., Trump) and despite what you personally may think about religion it matters. And you had damn well better think about it or end up living in a theocracy becuase we allowed the most malignant form to gain the reigns of power:

        The qualifications of a candidate should not be issue-oriented as much as character-oriented. They should be “able” and “experienced” men of course for the position which they seek. Beyond that, Scripture says they should be men who “fear God, ” that is, they should be Christians, as affirmed by John Jay. They should also be “men of truth” and “wise and discerning” men. This means that they should be Christians with a Biblical worldview–men who reason from absolute truth, not human wisdom. Many candidates may claim to be “Christians,” but do not hold to a Biblical worldview. Former President Jimmy Carter was an example of a Christian whose mind was unrenewed by Scripture and thus reasoned and governed from a “humanistic” worldview. Finally, Scripture says that our representatives must “hate dishonest gain.” This means that beyond a correct worldview, they must have Christian character, a godly home life, and pure motives…. Even if Christians manage to outnumber others on an issue and we sway our Congressman by sheer numbers, we end up in the dangerous promotion of democracy. We really do not want representatives who are swayed by majorities, but rather by correct principles. (Beliles, Mark A. and McDowell Stephen K. America’s Providential History. Charlottesville, Virginia: Providence Foundation; 1991; c1989 p. 265.)

        So as I say to all my liberal friends (and I have liberal friends because I am a libral), you better give a damn about religion and stop thinking it doesn’t matter or that you can just ignore it, or you do so at your own peril.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 2:24 am

        Rob, religion matters a great deal, particularly in America. But religions are just one of the factions that Alexander Hamilton warned against in Federalist No. 9. The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection For the Independent Journal. Author: Alexander Hamilton

        Alexander Hamilton. The Federalist Papers (pp. 43-44). Chios Classics. Kindle Edition.

        In that paper, Hamilton warns that factions cannot be prevented but must be controlled. That’s the role of the Congress, President, and Federal Courts. If one of these fails the other two must take over control. If two fail … If all fail, that’s the point that Abraham Lincoln made in 1849, when he said citizens are the final backstop for this protection. In that way unseating the government outside of elections is not only right and necessary, but Constitutionally correct and mandated.

      • Rob
        May 30, 2019 at 6:48 am

        In my view, the only way to unseat a president outside of elections is via impeachment. Indeed, Trump should be impeached, but I see the GOP as little more than unprincipled power hungry sycophants who don’t give a damn about our Constitution or even the future of our democracy. If (and when, for it seems inevitable) the democrats start impeachment proceedings and in the end are unable to impeach Trump I believe he will win again. Either way that is the end of American government as envisioned by our Founders. Faction will have won and democracy as they envisioned it will be dead in America, whether or not Americans realize it.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 8:59 am

        Rob, now that’s pessimistic. As I said the final backstop to enforce the Constitution is the citizens. If Trump isn’t impeached, he’ll face a hundred new lawsuits and dozens of new investigations. He won’t survive them. And as noted Pence is worse than Trump but easier to get rid of.

        As to Republicans defending Trump, Republicans defended Nixon the same way till the secret recordings from the oval office were released. Republican defense ceased and Nixon resigned. When Trump’s tax filings are released, I believe we’ll see a similar end to Trump defense and quick switch to “all hail the new chief, Mike Pence.”

      • Rob
        May 30, 2019 at 9:19 am

        I hope you are right Ken.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 11:23 am

        Rob, me too.

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 8:02 am

        Can’t use phone to post, so will be short. I agree with everything you say above. Trump is a symptom (sideshow too). Deeper sickness is pride, willfull arrogance, greed, and anti-intellectual blindness. My liberal friends are unwittingly selfish consumers who can’t even bring themselves to dump Facebook because it serves their selfish preferences. They deserve what they get, but our children?

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 9:13 am

        Rob, time to begin those short conversations I mentioned with your friends.

      • Robert Locke
        May 27, 2019 at 9:33 pm

        In 1994, I interviewed a Japanese (Yoshida)who was professor of management studies at cal state univ. dominguez hills. “In 1970 Yoshida left an industrial accounting positiion in Japan for graduate study at New York University, where he discovered to his delight that Dr Deming taught statistics. Considering Deming’s fame in Japan Yoshida was surprised to find few students in the class. I asked him why Americans neglected Deming for almost thirty years after he had achieved cult status in Japan. Yoshida answered that it would have been simply impossible for Americans in 1971 to have paid much attention to him.

        It was too early for Americans to think the ‘unthinkable,’ that something was wrong with American management. After all, just 16 years before Yoshida had shown up in New York, Winston Churchill, looking out at fortress Europe, had proclaimed ‘the invincibility of the American clear-cut , logical, large-scale, mass productioin, style of thought,’ which he correctly saw preparing the Normandy landings.’ And just two years before Yoshida arrived in New York,the English language edition of J-J Servan-Schreiber’s The American Challenge trumpeted the glories of Amerian managerial capitalism to eager ears and nodding heads on both sides of the Atlantic and the Pacific…. Perhaps to ask Americans, especially educated ones who are completely emeshed in American managerialism and benefit from its conventions, to have doubts about it, is asking too much.”

        I wrote this in the introduction to my book, The Collapse of the American Mystique (OUP, 1996, p. 12). Do you think the same paragraph would apply today.

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 1:49 am

        Yes, I do think the same applies today. We have Democrats that think universal healthy, what should be a basic right in any civilized society, is the big bad boogyman “socialism.” Many idiots like that educated their children to be amoral idiots themselves. Whether America wakes up culturally speaking is yet to be seen.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 8:32 am

        Rob, don’t be too hard on these folks. They’re the result of a concerted campaign of over 100 years now to equate socialism, with Satan, un-American, and the scourge that will take away all our liberties. Hard to overcome that much strong and consistent socialization.

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 8:36 am

        It’s hard not to be hard on the ignorant assholes that are pretty much condemning our children to have to endure a civilizational collapse so the deck can be cleared of the intellectual inertia these blind leaders parrot.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 9:16 am

        Save the ones we can now. Go to war with the others if we must.

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 2:29 am

        China is being made a scapegoat for rising inequality in the United States. While US trade relations with China have been mutually beneficial over the years, some US workers have been left behind, notably Midwestern factory workers facing competition due to rising productivity and comparatively low (though rising) labor costs in China. Instead of blaming China for this normal phenomenon of market competition, we should be taxing the soaring corporate profits of our own multinational corporations and using the revenues to help working-class households, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, promote new job skills and invest in cutting-edge science and technology. 

        (….) The most basic lesson of trade theory, practice and policy is not to stop trade — which would lead to falling living standards, economic crisis and conflict. Instead, we should share the benefits of economic growth so that the winners who benefit compensate the losers.

        Yet under American capitalism, which has long strayed from the cooperative spirit of the New Deal era, today’s winners flat-out reject sharing their winnings. As a result of this lack of sharing, American politics are fraught with conflicts over trade. Greed comprehensively dominates Washington policies. (Jeffrey Sachs)

        Trump is the incarnation of American greed. He is a con man, a ruthless narcissistic pathological liar and the final fruits of a declining culture. It is no mystery than the majority of Trump’s anti-intellectual base are self-proffessed evangelicals. The evangelical scholar Mark Noll wrote, “The tragedy of the evangelical mind is that there isn’t much if an evangelical mind.” They have abandoned the life of the mind and if not swiftly countered, they along with predatory capitalism and the elite that worship it will drag the world over the precipice into world war. Economics in service of greed, nationalism, and winning at all costs are merely preludes to real conflict. Economics as war by other means eventually leads to war and direct confrontation. 

        Christianity suffers under a great handicap because it has become identified in the minds of all the world as a part of the social system, the industrial life, and the moral standards of Western civilization; and thus has Christianity unwittingly seemed to sponsor a society which staggers under the guilt of tolerating science without idealism, politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without restraint, knowledge without character, power without conscience, and industry without morality.

        Rome is burning while economists fret and fiddle over theory and offer little or no vision as to the way off the path we are heading down. Trump may well win again and if he does, the path is pretty laid in stone, in my view.

        Our children and grandchildren will pay for our generation’s sins, unfortunately. Sometimes destruction must come before renewal. Perhaps that is where we are. 

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 2:34 am

        America needs leaders like this:

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 2:36 am

        America needs leaders like this now.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 8:47 am

        The polling shows he is popular among those 14-35. But he’s anathema for religious, political, and business conservatives because he’s gay and a socialist. He’s a great public speaker, isn’t afraid to speak truth to power, and has the intelligence, empathy, and integrity to be a good President. In today’s US, I’m not certain if these are positives or negatives. Maybe by 2028 the US might be ready to elect him to the office. Mitch, “the ditch” and most of his fellow travelers will be dead or in prison by then.

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 8:50 am

        Time will tell. I truly believe this is it. The next election will decide if we are heading over the precipice or not.

        Ken, civilization is a very thin and unstable cultural veneer over a more stable, enduring, primitive biological nature. Primitive humans were (and many modern ones) are not endowed with any large amount of self-restraint or wisdom. What little wisdom and self-restraint we have evolved over the millennium has been forged at the anvil of suffering. How soon we forget after a few generations, and willing to embrace old follies like blind nationalism and militaristic aggrandizement we are.

        If you take every form of modern mechanical armaments and all types of explosives away from strong nations, they will fight with fists, stones, and clubs as long as they cling to their delusions of the divine right of national sovereignty. War is not man’s great and terrible disease; war is a symptom, a result. The real disease is the virus of national sovereignty.

        When culture advances overfast, when material achievement outruns the evolution of worship-wisdom, then does civilization contain within itself the seeds of retrogression; and unless buttressed by the swift augmentation of experiential wisdom, such human societies will recede from high but premature levels of attainment, and the “dark ages” of the interregnum of wisdom will bear witness to the inexorable restoration of the imbalance between self-liberty and self-control.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 9:37 am

        Rob, Sapiens’ most dangerous enemy is itself, but not for the reasons most assume. Sapiens’ survival rests on its biological evolution but also on its cultural creativity. Like biology, and to simplify a bit, culture can aid or hinder human survival. Right now both are leaning toward the hinder side. Sapiens members with genetics that favor conflict and hate, and cultural socialization that favors the same control a great part of the future of our species. Our job right now is to get these members of our Species out of the way (however we need to achieve that) and put in their place members whose genetics and socialization favor cooperation and respect for Sapiens and the planet it inhabits.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 8:37 am

        As my Norwegian friend says, “what the hell is wrong with the United States? Is everyone there insane?” My answer to her is always the same, “yes.”

      • Rob
        May 28, 2019 at 8:37 am

        :-) You got that right.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 28, 2019 at 8:25 am

        Robert, the situation for Americans has changed, though I don’t believe they see it yet. But it hangs on the edge of their perception. That’s the reason for so much of the fear and xenophobia among Americans. It was just coming to the surface when Trump stepped into the presidential race. Now there is a pandemic of fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. At the end of WWII the US was the most powerful nation in the world, militarily and industrially. This was mostly an accident, not the result of an American plan. But some, particularly religious, business, political conservatives (many of whom had cooperated with Hitler and/or Japan during the War) and “America First” nationalists saw this as a sign that God or destiny had chosen the US to take care of and rule (benevolently) the world. US industry, military, and business made plans to carry out the mandate. The plans were always big, expensive, and never left room for other options. And most were arrogant to the point of insanity. Look up “Operation Plow Share,” for example. It was declassified about 15 years ago, so it’s available on the web now. America the “world manager” ran out steam in the 1980s. Reagan may have put down the USSR by bankrupting it. But he also bankrupted the US. Now we operate on debt, bravado, and fear. So, Robert, yes the American managerialism you criticize is dead in every way that is possible. But what has replaced it is even worse. The US is an impotent, old, white man. So long as it can convince the world it’s still “big, important, and in charge,” things go along as is. But as with any con, it will soon fall apart. Then, all bets are off.

      • Robert Locke
        May 29, 2019 at 7:07 am

        Ken, Rob, the craziness is not a result of decline. In 1951, when the US economy was surpreme, I got a summer job at Capitol Mills in Los Angeles in 1952, where I worked the midnight shift in the warehouse moving heavy sacks of flour. I told my fellow workers, in conversation, that the Red Army had done more to defeat the Wehrmacht in WWII than we did (I had learned this in history courses at UCLA). The next day, when I came to work, the business agent for the AFL union of grain millers told me, I was fired for being a Soviet sympathizer. McCarthyism hasd struck. Mind you, it was the workers who had me fired, the business agent for the union said that my life was in danger if they kept me, my fellow workers would stuff me down a shaft some night if I showed up.

        But the story had a “happy ending”, because the business agent believed my story that I was just reciting history. He sent me to General Mills, a closed shop, where they hired me for the summer.

        That happy ending could not happen today because of the collapse of labor unions. The union did the hiring at the General Mills plant. If it had been up to the management at Capitol Mills, no more second chance.

        When I brought my wife to the US, I told her, “Vera, Americans are friendly, nice people, but you have to remember one thing about them, they are all crazy.” She laughed, didn’t believe me. Then she worked for a few years under US management in big department stores. From this experience, she concluded, saying to me one day. “You know Bobby, Americans really are crazy.”

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 7:49 am

        What you call crazy Robert I call wilful ignorance. I never believed that Trump was

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 7:53 am

        What you call crazy Robert I call wilful ignorance. I never believed that the rise of Trump was solely due to economics. Ignorance was always there, now we have mainstreamed extremism. What does that tell us about America?

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 29, 2019 at 9:21 am

        Rob, ignorance and stupidity have always been part of American history. The smartest man to ever serve as President, according to historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. was Thomas Jefferson. But as we’ve learned just the last few years, Jefferson was in many ways ignorant or even stupid. But none of these handicaps lead him to attack the nation he had helped create. As I said 20 years ago, Trump hates the USA. Now he’s attempting to have his revenge on a nation that, in Trump’s eyes ridiculed and belittled him. He’s a 10-year-old spoiled child attempting to destroy the nation that made him what he is. We can’t respond to him as a 10-year-old spoiled child. It may be too late for Trump to become an adult, but it’s not too late for us to treat him as one for accountability purposes.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 10:06 am

        No one is not to one degree or another a product of their time. I am slow to judge past leaders by what we know today.

        I don’t think Trump “hates the USA,” and I don’t know how you can read his mind either. What I do know is he (and what we can objectively know about him) is he is 1) A sociopath and pathological narcissistic serial liar. The only thing he cares about is himself. He is a con man, a demagogue, a racist, and we could go on. He is exactly what our Founders feared most attaining the highest office in the land: We we’re warned.

        The Founders envisioned the role of public education serving to creat via education and character development well rounded citizens capable of ruling themselves in both personal passions and body politic. Apparently we have failed for Trump is proof of that.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 10:13 am

        That is to easy an excuse. Trump is a product of the USA. His character (actually lack there of) and the fact America is full of men and women so ignorant, so uneducated, so I’ll informed, so incapable of ethical and moral self-reflection, so pliable and easily led by preachers, Faux News pundits, and conspiracy hawkers like Limbaugh and crew, all reflect the anti-intellectual rot in America.

        No, Trump is the face of what we have become and we don’t like what we see, so we find some way to deny we made him.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 29, 2019 at 10:37 am

        Rob, observing Trump has been my hobby since the 1980s. He is all the things you list, and more. I believe he hates America in the same way the Mafia hates America. America is the Mafia’s prey, just like America is for Trump. Humans don’t hunt for food; Humans hunt for sport, fun, to denigrate their prey, to make their prey beg for mercy. Some humans live in the cesspool, and make the pool worse. Trump is just a cesspool inhabitant elected President of the United States. You can take him out of the cesspool, but you can’t take the cesspool out of him

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 10:52 am

        I share your feelings about Trump.

        Trump is a product of America. That is a fact. America has always had two faces (if not more) and this is but one part of a mosaic of the ages. Progress is not vouchsafed, retrogression is also a possibility.

        It will not be us who decide the future of America, but our children. If we have done our job well, they will see through Trump’s con, get off their complacent asses, and vote him out, and if not, then the Interregnum of wisdom will correct or foolish confusing of license for liberty.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 29, 2019 at 11:57 am

        Rob, if Martin Luther King, Jr. is correct, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” then Trump is just a bump in the road. If he’s wrong, and we or our children can’t bend that arc toward justice, we will go extinct and give the next species a chance to take our place. It’s happened before.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 1:18 pm

        It was faith that led him to speak those words; faith that led them to march across that bridge. It seems wise to understand the kind of faith that spoke those words, in stark contrast to the twisted faith of Evangelicals like Falwell who support Trump. Therein lies the power to move that arc towards justice.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 2:29 am

        Yes, Christian evangelicals are more than a little warped. But those who founded the USA chose to protect all religions equally. Until as I said earlier they go too far, as defined by the Constitution. Religion is not a license or free ride for rebellion against the Constitution.

      • Rob
        May 30, 2019 at 6:24 am

        It is in the hands of the current GOP, as their attitude is Constitution be damned.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 1:20 pm

        King had imagination. What you call immagination I call faith.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 11:04 am

        But I agree ignorance and stupidity have always been part of America. In fact, that applies to almost any culture. From what I can tell leadership is dependent on natural ability, discretion, will power, and determination. Leadership is vital to progress. Wisdom, insight, and foresight are indispensable to the endurance of nations. Civilization is never really jeopardized until able leadership begins to vanish. And the quantity of such wise leadership isd. We have failed to understand the difference between knowledge and wisdom, skill and character,

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 11:06 am

        I give up. In Nagoya, a smartphone, with an old dumbass fingering it.

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 11:07 am

        But the food and sake is great :-)

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 11:09 am

        Wish you were here :-)

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 11:13 am

        Enjoying the menu and some fine Sake :-)

      • Rob
        May 29, 2019 at 11:15 am

        Ken, just want to let you know I appreciate your wisdom, knowledge, and sharing on RWER. Cheers and this Sake is for you :-)

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 29, 2019 at 8:11 am

        Robert, yes Americans, collectively and individually are mostly crazy. They’ve been socialized to be so. Or, if you like, they’ve been trained to be so. America has always been a class A fire drill in terms of economics, politics, and religion. So many people, coming so fast, believing so many different ideas, and living in such different ways. The first need was to create a common culture. Most failed. The only one that ever had any success was money — wealth — as the measure of American people. In the History Channel series, “The Men Who Built America” the focus is on men (of course, even in 2012) who made America by becoming wealthy, very wealthy. Money is a useful and necessary tool in our world today. Wealth is a fetish. Wealth, or the wealthy, is also why unions failed (apart from the stupidity of some union organizers and members), and why the USSR was transformed from the WWII ally to a deadly and hated enemy of the US. We’ve been manipulated by people with lots of money through hired hands who control our media, our entertainment, and unfortunately much of the content of our history books. It can be stopped if we defund the billionaires and millionaires who control our world.

      • Robert Locke
        May 29, 2019 at 8:32 am

        Yes, Rob, ignorance is another word for crazy. When Vera lived and worked in the US for awhile, she observed that “she was astonished by the reasons Americans give of a cause and effect nature , they are so simplistic; they will accept almost any silly explanation as a cause for events they oppose (socialism, for example, or bad trade deals)” Such simple mindedness is ignorance of the individual and collective sort, it stops the dialogue necessary to deal with the ailments plaguing u.s. society.

      • Craig
        May 30, 2019 at 9:26 am

        History will judge Trump negatively in the way it judges all demagogues, and as all men of low character have abused power. He is what he is. A man of only transactional grace which is no grace at all.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 30, 2019 at 11:22 am

        Craig, partly right. History judged Hitler negatively, thus far. But Andrew Jackson, a man just slightly less prejudiced and genocidal than Hitler is often judged one of the better American Presidents, thus far. It may be horrible to hear, but for his time Hitler was not unusual in many of his beliefs. Later on he became insane, but even then most of his actions were explainable in the terms his place in history. Much the same can be said for Jackson. Frankly, I don’t know how history will judge Trump. But he will be judged.

    • Robert Locke
      May 30, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      When I was in graduate school in the 1950s, everybody was reading Schlesinger’s The Jacksonian Revolution, and the Democratic Party held its Jackson-Jeffersonian Dinners to celebrate the two great founders of American Democracy. The new Left certainly did a job on them. I’m suspicious of such revisionism. Judge them in their times is the Rankean rule in historical method.

      • Rob
        May 31, 2019 at 1:34 am

        Judge them in their times is the Rankean rule in historical method. ~ Robert Locke

        Totally agree, and I find it suspect intellectually to fail to do so.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 31, 2019 at 1:40 am

        Robert, I really don’t know how it’s possible for any historian to take any action or person out of the time in which they lived. That action, that person happened when it did, in that time. In that time what happens makes sense. Brought 200 years forward or back, sense is lost.

      • Rob
        May 31, 2019 at 2:56 am

        Robert, I really don’t know how it’s possible for any historian to take any action or person out of the time in which they lived. ~ Ken

        I laughed when I read this. Ridiculous. Just take a good hard look at the way fundamentalist evangelical Christians take the Founders out of historical context and put their own beliefs into the mouths of the Founders to justify making America a “Christian Nation” again. Ken, sometimes you are brilliant, and sometimes you seem down right blind to your own conceptual walls.

        There is no real mystery or difficulty in seeing that context counts, both historically and in the present. Frankly, you lake imagination on this one Ken ;-)

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 31, 2019 at 3:42 am

        Rob, my comment, if you’ll look was about historians. They know from education and experience that considering people and actions outside history is impossible. And that it often leads to just the situation you describe. Others do, as you note, for fun, politics, and money. Historians have a duty to point this out, along with its many deleterious consequences. We already have half a generation of ahistorical wingnuts out there. We don’t need any more.

      • Rob
        May 31, 2019 at 4:02 am

        Not following you Ken. Robert’s point as I read it is not complex. Context counts, be careful not to (as best we can) not impose our prejudices upon past historical contexts. That takes both dicipline-methodology and imagination. There are countless examples of cases such is done well (such as when you provide historical context on this very forum) and tragic cases were it has grave consequences for society, one case being the NRA’s twisted, false revisionist narrative of the 2nd Amend. and guns in America.

        In fact, the more I study economics the more I believe it is the lack of historical awareness that is able to contextualize our understanding that is so lacking.

        No doubt I may completely misunderstand your comment, but Robert’s is spot on in my view.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 31, 2019 at 5:52 am

        Rob, agree with Robert and with you. Historical place is what defines human societies. Without it they’re meaningless. I see historians as the guardian of this realization.

      • Rob
        May 31, 2019 at 5:53 am

        I think my old mind is sometimes just fogged up :-)

      • Rob
        May 31, 2019 at 6:03 am

        Amen!

      • Robert Locke
        May 31, 2019 at 5:45 am

        I had a history major in my historiography class, who wanted to write her major paper on Woodrow Wilson’s betrayal of the Chinese when he, an advocate of self-determination, agreed to cede part of China to Japan at the end of WWI. Of Chinese descent, she was incensed that Wilson could be such a hypocrite. I told her to get acquainted with all the facts and she might judge the President differently. At the end of the semester, she turned in her paper, with the remark, that Wilson, within the political context of the era, had no choice; he had to cede the territory to the Japanese within the terms of an international settlement. That’s one reason to study history, to get the context right, so judgments about human actions can be correct.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        June 2, 2019 at 1:15 am

        Robert, excellent. I have just one quibble. You write, “That’s one reason to study history, to get the context right, so judgments about human actions can be correct.” History, since it’s human, is complex. It’s unlikely anyone ever gets the context wholly “right.” Which means judgments about human actions can at best be only more or less right. And it’s not always clear how more or less right a judgment is at the time it’s made. That requires feedback such as what you gave to your fellow student.

      • Robert Locke
        June 2, 2019 at 8:14 am

        You are certainly right Ken, appraisals of context and judgments about them are constantly changing, but that is the game the history profession is constantly doing something about. Historians, in a free society, are members of a guild engaged in constant revisions through debate; de la discussion jaillit la lumiere, is the French proverb and the historians guide.Debate can bring consensus, but only for a short time, so knowledge of context is constantly evolving as we peer through a glass darkly, as is knowledge itself.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        June 2, 2019 at 12:35 pm

        Robert, you know that the purpose of science was to end this “through a glass darkly.” Science and scientists, after nearly 400 years are finally beginning to recognize this is not possible. Science can still benefit the world and all its inhabitants, but not by as Newton said, “revealing the face of God.” God the great clock maker whose work many early scientists set out to reveal turns out to be a complex universe of uncertainty and change, often beyond the reach of human science even today. Likely forever. Scientists, like historians construct and re-construct knowledge through debate. Scientists, however, have shown a tendency to push the debates into the background once “laws of science” have been accepted by the science community as “true.” This actually harms science, since it stifles the creation of new knowledge. That’s changing. At a high energy physics conference I attended last year one paper generated a lot of discussion. It dealt with the conditions, current, past, and future under which the speed of light is not a constant. The invention of complexity, chaos science, and the work of such scientists as Karl Sagan and Stephen Hawking have helped move this awareness and flexibility.

      • Rob
        June 2, 2019 at 1:06 pm

        The speed of light is not constant … That would be revolutionary, wouldn’t it.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        June 2, 2019 at 11:40 pm

        In a major way, Rob since almost every equation and concept in high energy physics assumes a constant speed of light.

      • Rob
        June 3, 2019 at 4:10 pm

        Been bag genetics was once the speed of light in biology ;-)

      • Craig
        June 2, 2019 at 9:57 pm

        This is another good discussion. Anthropology is the closest discipline there is to paradigm perception because it is interdisciplinary and deals with culture which is a vast and multifaceted pattern itself.

        The discipline of paradigm perception is actually the willingness and ability to look at the present pattern and discern the single concept that describes it, and also the ability to discern a new paradigm/pattern by its various imminent and accomplished signatures. It is a kind of supra-anthropology that includes philosophy, ethics and the naturalistic integrative and unitary insights and processes found in all of the world’s major wisdom traditions.

        With all of the agreed upon fallacies and long lingering problems in economics which is a major signature of imminent paradigm change the discussion should indeed focus on deciphering the new paradigm and how policies aligned with it can be applied to make it the new temporal universe reality.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        June 3, 2019 at 1:40 am

        Economics’ history in the US is different than that of the other social sciences, and much different than that of the humanities such as history that work along side social scientists. Almost immediately upon becoming economics rather than political economy economics was politicized. Becoming a “bought and paid for” asset of big oil, big steel, big auto, etc. After donating $600,000 to establish the University of Chicago (to improve his public image) John D. Rockefeller called it “the best investment I ever made.” Buying universities, and particularly economics departments was just one more investment for men like Rockefeller. Intended to protect themselves and their companies and to increase their wealth. While these “investments” may have been disappointing for the men who made them for the social sciences and humanities, the investment in economics has paid and continues to pay high dividends for America’s largest businesses and wealthiest business leaders.

  6. Helen Sakho
    May 27, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Super-profits.

  7. Helen Sakho
    May 31, 2019 at 12:41 am

    Trump should definitely and urgently be required to have a test for severe mental illness; and he may or not be judged by history properly. Whatever the case, the mess he leaves behind in the US and globally is unforgivable. And, I do not believe this is just another historical coincidence. He was exactly what this stage of pseudo-capitalism demanded. He just happens to be the richest and the least caring. I would bet on his disappearance from the scene into retirement shrugging his shoulders and saying he did what was best for America.

    • Ken Zimmerman
      May 31, 2019 at 1:53 am

      Helen, Trump is a sociopath. A fancy psychiatric name for a person who has no empathy for other humans, even family members. Serial killers are often sociopaths, as are gang leaders, mafia members, and politicians. But at the same time sociopaths are often gifted at convincing others they care about them, want the best for them, and will do anything to protect them. But sociopaths, none the less, can benefit society, if their actions are channeled and controlled. Famous fictional sociopath Sherlock Holmes helped many people and the police. But only so long as Dr. Watson channeled and controlled his actions. Trump is just an uncontrolled, un-channeled sociopath. Absolutely nothing helpful or beneficial for society or other people can ever come of such a situation. In terms of democracy and democratic government this is the worst situation possible. Yes, Trump needs treatment (he’s too old to believe it can be successful), but first he must be removed from office.

  8. Helen Sakho
    May 31, 2019 at 2:29 am

    I agree. Holmes was entertaining at times, this guy is scary. And I do agree on your comment on democracy; and that is the scariest point of all.

    • Robert Locke
      May 31, 2019 at 6:03 am

      So, it is those who are suppose to provide the checks and balances within a democratic government, who must be blamed for not controlling this man. We are talking about the Republican coterie in a position to do something, like Barr, who chooses to protect his malfeasance, no Richardson or John Dean here, or members of congress who betray the principles inherited from Lincoln, in their party, every time they open their mouth, and Fox news….

      • Ken Zimmerman
        May 31, 2019 at 6:12 am

        In a word, yes. But what goes around comes around. I’ve been told that the Deustches Bank documents show a clear pattern of Trump laundering money for Putin, et al.

      • Rob
        June 2, 2019 at 1:20 pm

        Rumors won’t save us, only action, facts, revealed in impeachment process, after which there is no guarantee the traitorious Republicans may still not impeach.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        June 3, 2019 at 12:32 am

        Rob, Republicans are not treasonous. They are just not citizens of the United States any longer and haven’t yet found a fascist nation they want to join.

      • Rob
        June 2, 2019 at 1:18 pm

        Amen! Robert, I am with you. It is a sad thing to o behold.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        June 3, 2019 at 12:29 am

        The end of the Weimar Republic might be a good object lesson for us today. On November 9, 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated the German and Prussian thrones. In February 1919 Germany and Prussia became a de jure republic when the position of President of Germany was created. A national assembly convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for Germany was written and adopted on August 11, 1919. In its fourteen years, the Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism (with paramilitaries—both left- and right-wing) as well as contentious relationships with the victors of the First World War. Resentment in Germany towards the Treaty of Versailles was strong especially on the political right where there was great anger towards those who had signed the Treaty and worked to fulfill its terms. The Weimar Republic fulfilled most of the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles although it never completely met its disarmament requirements and eventually paid only a small portion of the war reparations. In general, Germany accepted the western borders of the country by abandoning claims based on cultural, historical, ethnic, racial, or similar ties. Germany continued to dispute the eastern borders and sought to persuade German-speaking Austria to join Germany as one of Germany’s states.

        From 1930 onward President Hindenburg used emergency powers to back Chancellors Heinrich Brüning, Franz von Papen and General Kurt von Schleicher. The Great Depression, exacerbated by Brüning’s policy of deflation, led to a surge in unemployment. In 1933, Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor with the Nazi Party being part of a coalition government. The Nazis held two out of the remaining ten cabinet seats. Vice Chancellor von Papen was intended to be the “undercover control” who would keep Hitler and the Nazis in check. The Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act of 1933 created a state of emergency, wiping out constitutional governance and civil liberties. Hitler’s seizure of power (Machtergreifung) created government by decree without legislative participation. These events brought the republic to an end. Ending democracy and allowing the Nazis to establish a single-party dictatorship. Historically, the same process played out in later years in Spain, Argentina, Chile, and just recently in Hungary, Italy, and Brazil. Fascism seems to endure, however, for some reason. Like the Lernaean Hydra; Fascism it seems is nearly impossible to kill. Make no mistake, the current Republican Party is a fascist organization. All it needed to go full out fascist was a 100% fascist president. Donald Trump fills the bill.

      • Rob
        June 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm
      • Robert Locke
        June 3, 2019 at 6:36 am

        There is nothing automatlic about fascist taking over a country, even when they are present in large numbers. The nonfascists in Germany would not defend the Weimar Republic, the Republicans in France did, in the popular front, as did the New Dealers in America, and opponents of the Mosley fascists in the UK. The greater political cultural inheritance is the key factor, but we should not have to be dragged through such a fight, as the people in 1860 had to be.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        June 3, 2019 at 7:40 am

        Robert, my point precisely. With all the problems it faced and the lack of German experience with or attachment to democracy in 1919, Weimar was lucky to have been created. Surviving until 1933 was unexpected for most Germans.

  9. Helen Sakho
    June 3, 2019 at 2:31 am

    Thank you Ken.

    I was just revisiting one of my favourite German poets and philosophers, Hesse, who puts it beautifully: “It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognise each other, to learn to see the other and honour him for what he is.”

    I forgive him for the political incorrectness of his tone on one-sided gender descriptions!

    • Ken Zimmerman
      June 3, 2019 at 3:44 am

      In Vietnam the Marines (younger ones) in my Company who were known as bright usually carried around one of two book’s. Hesse’s “Steppenwolf” or J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” Never inquired whether there was a connection.

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