"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." ~ John Stuart Mill
21st Century Paranoid Guy
Exclusive to STR
I once received an email which read, in part: "Charles Lindbergh was a traitor who tried to sell out his country to the Nazis just as many leftists today would sell us out to the Islamo-Fascists."
The letter was in response to my review of Philip Roth's libelous (and boring) novel, The Plot Against America, an odious attempt at an "alternate history" in which Charles Lindbergh became President in 1940, kept America out of World War II, and turned the U.S. into the American version of Nazi Germany.
To be accurate, I will refer to this writer as "21st Century Paranoid Guy."
It only took several seconds to understand what the story was behind Paranoid Guy's screed. Fortunately, I understand his point of view. Too bad he doesn't understand mine. I call this Scott's Law, after a friend who told me, "The smart understand the stupid a lot better than the stupid understand the smart."
It explains why I understand Paranoid Guy but why he will never understand me.
What PG is saying is, "If Charles Lindbergh had become President in 1940, he would have kept us out of World War II by appeasing the Nazis, and they would have conquered the world!"
He's also saying, "If Lindbergh or someone like him was President now, he would keep us out of World War III by appeasing those Islamo-fascists, and they would have conquered the world!"
I like to call this "the Pinky and the Brain Fallacy." (Pinky: "What are we going to do tomorrow night, Brain?" Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky . . . try and conquer the world.")
The fact he uses the word "Islamo-fascists" makes me suspect he reads that vast intellectual and moral wasteland of misspelled insults known as Free Republic. It's one of their favorite words there, along with "Muslimes" and "nuke."
It's a shame PG doesn't understand history a bit better than he does. His view is, to be charitable, very simplistic. So I'll help him out.
Throughout all of the 20th Century, and even now, at the beginning of the 21st, there have not been separate wars with different names like "World War I," World War II," "the Korean War," "the Vietnam War," and "Infinite Justice" or "Enduring Freedom," or whatever it's being called now.
Instead, what we have had is one war, with breathers in between.
World War I was just another in a long line of European wars. Before the U.S. got involved, it was almost over. European wars were, as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams warned, none of our business.
What essentially got the U.S. into World War I was the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania by a German submarine. The reason it went down so fast is because it was filled with munitions for England.
Munitions on a passenger liner? Who would do such a thing? Why, governments, of course! The reason? To get the U.S. in the war on the side of England, which was agitating for our help.
The German government had placed full-page ads in the Eastern newspapers, warning people to stay off of passenger ships. That's something you won't find in most history books.
After WWI was over, Woodrow Wilson went along with the crushing reparations against Germany, allowing Hitler to rise to power. At first, many people praised Hitler, including Churchill and Gandhi, until the world realized what he was.
The Great Depression, caused not by the free market but government interference in the economy, spread throughout the world, including to Germany. That certainly helped Hitler's rise.
World War II was a direct result of World War I. If the U.S. hadn't gotten involved in World War I, there wouldn't have been a World War II. Even if there had been a World War II, there was, again, no reason for us to get involved. If the National Socialists of Germany and the International Socialist of Russia wanted to slaughter each other, well, exactly whose side should we have been on?
Unfortunately, FDR wanted the U.S. to get involved. Roosevelt, who was a bit of a fascist, and certainly pro-Communist (he called Stalin "Uncle Joe"), apparently wanted to share the world with him. Why else would he have delivered Christian Eastern Europe to mass-murdering Communist atheists?
There is some evidence that FDR knew the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor. If he wasn't agitating for war against Japan, then why did he cut off Japan's oil, when it had no domestic supplies? Why did he send the Flying Tigers against them in China, if not to provoke them into attacking us? Perhaps he didn't want Uncle Joe to have to fight a two-front war against Germany and Japan?
The U.S. getting involved in WWII on the side of the Communists against the Nazis is what allowed the USSR to grow so strong. And our mistakes in China allowed the Communists to come to power there.
Both those mistakes led to Korea and Vietnam.
After World War II, when many of the Jews in Europe moved to the just-founded state of Israel, most of them did not know they were now living in an area that had been at war for four thousand years.
The U.S.'s unqualified support of Israel, no matter what it did to the Palestinians, and our attack on Iraq when it didn't attack us, along with our blockade of that country which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, is what caused the attack on 9/11.
9/11 wasn't because we are "good" and they are "bad." It was an attempt to draw the U.S. into a guerrilla war in the Middle East, in order to drain us of blood and treasure, so we would leave the area, the way the USSR left Afghanistan.
Since 9/11 was a criminal offense by a small group of people, it would have been easier and more effective to hunt them down and kill them, not invade two countries and turn most of the world against us. A world that was mostly sympathetic toward us after 9/11.
Now, we are involved in wars that have been going on since 1914. Include the history of the Middle East, and we're involved in a war that has been going one for millennia. It's one we're not going to end, no matter what the fantasies of whoever is currently in the administration.
The world of Paranoid Guy is not the real world. It's not as simple as, "they're going to conquer the world!"
Why do I call him "21st Century Paranoid Guy"? Because he's paranoid those "Islamo-fascists" are going to conquer the world. Personally, I can't figure out how they're going to do it, since all 22 Islamic countries in the world have a combined economy about the size of Spain.
I suppose he thinks they're going to move to America and Europe and take over both. Well, that problem can be solved with some immigration reform. But the world is never going to see Muslim armies, navies and air forces attacking the Western world. It will never happen. We're only about a thousand years ahead of them, and they'll never catch up.
Paranoia is an easy thing to exploit. I'll use a quote from Hermann Goering to explain how to manipulate the public: "All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." His quote was directed toward 20th Century Paranoid Guy, the same guy (who was about 75) who I overheard say, "If we don't stop those Iraqis over there, we'll have to fight them over here."
In other words, tell people they're being attacked by someone who is going to conquer the world and they'll become paranoid, get the vapors and lose the ability to think rationally. That's why I get letters telling me if Charles Lindbergh was President today, Islam would take over the world.
Talk about an alternate history fantasy.
I seriously doubt Lindbergh, who flew the P-38 Lightning in combat in the Pacific theater, would allow anyone to take over the United States.
And I'm sure he'd understand this quote by Joseph Goebbels, a quote about which most politicians are clueless: "This war is a defensive war. It was forced upon us by our enemies, who wish to destroy our nation. The only thing we cannot afford to lose in this war is our freedom, the foundation of our life and our future. No one has the right to complain about limitations on his personal freedom caused by the war."
I doubt 21st Century Paranoid Guy understands it, either. Hell, I know he doesn't.